Automation firm awarded £1.7m grant for shore power system

Telford-based iconsys, an automation solutions provider and systems integrator has been awarded a grant of nearly £1.7m by the Department for Transport, for the next stage of development of a shore power system.

The new system aims to eliminate the operation of onboard diesel engines while its ships are discharging marine aggregates.

Collaborating with the University of Warwick and global building materials supplier CEMEX to develop the system, it is tailored to analyze the electrical load fluctuations of self-discharging commercial vessels.

The system will incorporate battery energy storage, solar photovoltaic energy generation, and integrated hardware-in-the-loop simulation to enhance its capabilities and validate modelling software predictions.

It aims to provide consistent power to the vessel during discharge at 250kW while simulating the full dynamic discharge cycle of 1.5MW alongside the berth.

Work on this phase is scheduled to start in April, with a 12-month timeframe allocated for the installation and demonstration of the system.

Jordan Tassell, head of marine & ports for iconsys, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to progress towards a demonstration of the smart shore power system, a cutting-edge solution that goes beyond the standard. The aim is to offer key functionality and benefits that will support uptake within the maritime sector and drive the future of vessel connectivity.

“iconsys is driven by the ambition to develop our specialised skillset in this domain, leveraging this demonstration project as a strategic platform. Our commitment is not just limited to system integration; we aim to detail, design, and manufacture a solution that sets a benchmark in efficiency and reliability. This venture aligns with our broader vision of pushing the boundaries of innovation and playing a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of smart, connected ports and vessels.”

Laurence Dagley, operational excellence and business development director for Cemex West Europe Materials added: “Our initial feasibility study for this shore power system identified an opportunity to save a significant amount of CO2 during each dredger discharge, while also improving local air quality at the port itself. We are therefore pleased to have received this funding to progress to the next stage of the project and undertake an on-site demonstration.

“The timings for this stage are tight but the potential benefits are considerable, as it will allow us to gain real experience of all the hardware, in a real environment, whilst being able to study the full-scale operation and quantify the benefits. Utilising the Cemex Go Innovation, already the newest and most advanced aggregates dredger in the industry, this will be the first dredger in the UK to be shore-powered and marks an exciting progression in our efforts to decarbonise.”