The e4ports network, coordinated by NOW GmbH, seeks to support the development of a climate-neutral energy system in ports.
Experts in climate-friendly port technology came together for the third e4ports symposium on 22 November 2023. The digital event organised by NOW GmbH took place this year under the title “ImPORT – Häfen als Knotenpunkte für erneuerbare Kraftstoffe” (“ImPORT – Ports as hubs for renewable fuels”) and focused on the role of ports in importing hydrogen and alternative fuels to Germany.
Hydrogen and renewable fuels can play an important role in the energy and powertrain transition. Although the demand for such fuels is high and growing steadily, this demand can often still not be met. But one thing is clear: Where local production and procurement via pipelines from neighbouring countries are not sufficient, imports by sea are indispensable. Given the immense amounts of energy involved, investment must be made in infrastructure for storing, processing and distributing hydrogen and various derivatives so that harbours do not become a bottleneck for the German market.
At the third e4ports symposium, experts from various German ports reported on their strategies for driving the development of infrastructure for these new energy sources forward. Fuel suppliers also provided insights into how they are preparing for the switch to alternative fuels. What fuels are imported from which countries? What capacities are required? What does the infrastructure to be developed look like? These questions were highlighted and discussed on the basis of study results and showcase projects.
A special focus was also placed on the shipping industry as a major maritime customer for renewable fuels. As such, initial findings from an analysis of the potential of refuelling infrastructures for low-carbon and renewable marine fuels in Germany were presented by Ramboll Deutschland on behalf of NOW GmbH. The initial results of the study make it clear that achieving the goals of the maritime energy transition will largely depend on the bunkering infrastructure available for these fuels and that this will also result in market potential for the supply of climate-neutral fuels in German ports.
Founded in 2021, the e4ports network has set itself the goal of supporting ports in shaping a climate-neutral energy system – and is coordinated by NOW GmbH. It provides a common platform for all stakeholders working in and around ports. Network members therefore include port authorities, terminal operators, logistics companies, shipping companies, energy producers and suppliers, grid operators as well as public authorities. The network brings all stakeholders together in order to achieve the goal of climate-neutral ports more quickly.
About NOW GmbH
NOW GmbH has been supporting the German government in its climate and industrial policy goals since 2008. One of the most important tasks of the federally owned company is to develop funding programmes relating to climate-neutral mobility and energy supply, to accompany and evaluate them. The experts at NOW GmbH supervise projects in the areas of hydrogen, fuel cells, batteries and renewable fuels; they rethink mobility and fuels for cars, buses, trains, commercial vehicles, ships and aircraft – and accompany the construction and further development of the charging infrastructure as well as hydrogen filling stations for cars and trucks. In the process, the regulatory framework is closely monitored – on a national, EU and international level.