Interim balance "enerPort"

Metastudy provides basis for categorization and typologization of inland ports

Press release / June 25, 2020

Creating an overall concept for efficient energy use and supply of Duisburg's inland port – this is the objective of the "enerPort" project. The Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT and Duisburger Hafen AG have reached an important milestone on the way to achieving this goal: One year after the start of the project they have conducted a metastudy. It is intended to ensure the transferability of the concept to other ports. The focus is on the categorization and typologization of inland ports.

View of the port of Duisburg
© duisport/Hans Blossey
View of the port of Duisburg

Inland ports as special urban quarters

Right at the beginning of the project we realized that there was no clear and purposeful definition of inland ports, explains Dr. Anna Grevé, head of the department Electrochemical Energy Storage at Fraunhofer UMSICHT. Because for us, the ports are special city districts with their own energy requirements. We have therefore developed a special indicator system that characterizes inland ports in their various forms.On the one hand, it includes the economic significance (port area, goods handling, transport connections), the structure (building elements, corporate landscape) and the neighborhood connections (residential area, population, commercial and industrial area). On the other hand, it includes factors such as sector coupling and electricity generation from renewable energies: For example, what does the grid infrastructure look like? Do Power-to-X technologies already exist on site? And would the construction of wind power or photovoltaic plants be appropriate?

Trimodal commercial port or specialized port with a housing affinity? A look at categories and types

On this basis, the project partners have created ten categories that consider the following characteristics: transshipment of goods (large or small; the limit is 3 million tonnes), transshipment possibilities (bimodal between two modes of transport or trimodal between water, rail and road) and neighborhood connection (commercial/industrial, commercial/industrial-affine, residential-affine, mixed form). In Germany, ports with the combination small, trimodal, mixed form (27) are most strongly represented, followed by small, trimodal, residential (14) and large, trimodal, mixed form (12).

In addition, the project partners distinguish between two types of port. While the commercial port is characterized by a mixed storage structure, various transshipment goods and a heterogeneous company landscape, the specialized port comprises few storage types and transshipment goods as well as a homogeneous company landscape.

The next steps: Focus on Power-to-X and power supply technologies

Based on these classifications, the project partners have selected seven other ports in addition to Duisburg for an already ongoing detailed analysis. Among other things, it includes the survey of load profiles as well as interviews with local players – from companies, energy suppliers and network operators to local residents, says Alexander Garbar, Manager Sustainability and Project Manager Corporate Development at Duisburger Hafen AG. We ask, for example, about the current situation, needs and willingness to cooperate.

The other work packages have also already been determined. These include the pre-selection and characterization of Power-to-X and energy supply technologies for the Port of Duisburg as well as the development of initial future scenarios. Anna Grevé and Alexander Garbar expect concrete results by the end of the year.


The enerPort project

Within the framework of enerPort, an overall concept for energy use and supply is being developed for the Port of Duisburg - with regard to the challenges of the energy turnaround. The special: To date, activities to increase efficiency and the use of renewable energies in ports have concentrated on the logistics sector and the use of bio-based fuels. With a view to the energy turnaround, however, inland ports are above all interesting urban areas with their own requirements profile and great development potential. The project partners are therefore pursuing a cross-industry approach to sector coupling of the energy industry with the areas of housing, commerce, industry, logistics and transport.


Funding information

enerPort is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy within the framework of EnEff:Hafen.