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The Port of Barcelona has awarded VINCI Energies Spain the pilot project to electrify the docks in its ferry terminal. This is a first step toward becoming a carbon-neutral port by 2050.

With an investment of more than €110 million, Nexigen, the quayside electrification plan for the Port of Barcelona, is one of the main projects the port is promoting to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and become a carbon-neutral port by 2050.

Around €90 million of the total will be invested in OPS (onshore power supply) systems to connect docked ships to the electric power supply network, using clean energy from certified 100 percent-renewable sources. The remaining €20 million will be used to create the power network infrastructure (substations, high-voltage connection and medium-voltage network). The aim is to supply electricity to all cruise ship mooring points by 2030.

Five VINCI Energies business units working together

In May 2023, the Port of Barcelona awarded VINCI Energies Spain the €3.6 million contract for the dock electrification pilot project. VINCI Energies has previously been involved in 39 OPS system installations worldwide (in Sweden, France, Norway, United Arab Emirates and Denmark).

“As the first-ever OPS scheme for ferries in Spain, this project represents a real challenge, with new teams put together specially.”

“The call for tenders included project design and execution, as well as the ship connection and disconnection service, installation maintenance, and the supply of electricity to ships in the ferry terminal,” explains Alejandro García Gómez, Hydrogen and Ports Director at VINCI Energies Spain. “The terminal will have two berths equipped with OPS systems, allowing ships to stop their engines while in port, which will avoid polluting emissions.”

The project required collaboration between five VINCI Energies business units from 3 different countries: Omexom Spain, INOVE Ingeniería (Spain), Axians Spain, GTIE Synertec SAS (France) and Actemium Electro AB (Sweden). (see boxout).

Organisational and technical challenges

“As the first-ever OPS scheme for ferries in Spain, this project represents a real challenge,” says Alejandro García Gómez, “Because the teams, for example the cable management team, were put together specially for this project. Fitting the civil engineering work in particular around the day-to-day workings of an operational port is also a major challenge.”

The project began on 30 May 2023 and is scheduled for handover in January 2025. According to calculations by Puertos del Estado, the public company responsible for managing Spain’s state-owned ports, the per-ship reduction in emissions will be 8 percent for SOx (sulfur oxides), 64 percent for CO2, 96 percent for NOx (nitrogen oxides), and 94 percent for particulates.

Five business units at work

The quayside electrification pilot project for the Port of Barcelona involves five VINCI Energies business units:

  • Omexom Spain will carry out the connection work with the electrical distributor and civil engineering work, install medium-voltage power lines, set up the OPS substations, supply and install the CMS (cable management system) and the two quayside terminal boxes, and finally, test and commission the installation.
  • INOVE Ingeniería (Spain) will manage the construction project, design the OPS substation information management system, and install and connect the fibre-optic cabling.
  • GTIE Synertec SAS (France) will supply the OPS substations.
  • Actemium Electro AB (Sweden) is bringing in a team manager with experience of similar projects and of performing the initial ship connection and disconnection operations
  • Axians Spain, in coordination with Omexom, is helping to define the right networking and cybersecurity architecture for all the elements of the OPS solution in a scalable and secure way. After the final architecture of OPS is accepted, Axians is also planning to supply and configure all the required elements for providing connectivity and cybersecurity to the OPS solution.