The aim of the research is to incorporate the battery capacities of the automated guided container transport vehicles (AGVs) that are in use at CTA into the German energy network as flexible storage units that contribute to the grid stability of the power supply.


Now, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG and Next Kraftwerke GmbH are investigating the extent to which industrially used mobile battery capacities can be connected to the German power grid, in order for primary control reserves to be rendered for grid stability under economic conditions. Terminal operations may not be affected by this.

By 2022, the about 100 AGVs in use at terminal Altenwerder for the transport of containers will be completely converted to fast-charging lithium-ion batteries. They will be able to supply 4 megawatts for the energy market at the 18 electric charging stations.

Along with Next Kraftwerke, the OFFIS Institute for Information Technology in Oldenburg and the University of Göttingen, HHLA is developing within the three-year FRESH project a process and software solution for accessing the power market. This will digitally control the demands of the virtual power plant operator and make terminal operations easier.

Boris Wulff of the CTA Terminal Development department, who is responsible for the FRESH project at HHLA, commented:

Capacity utilisation at the terminal determines whether AGV capacities are free. These in turn depend on such factors as ship schedules, weather and tide conditions, traffic volume and loading cycles of the AGVs. All these parameters must be included in order to develop reliable, efficient and, especially, automated processes. In this way, we can predict quite precisely when and how long AGVs can dock at the electric charging stations, in order to either give or receive energy when the power grid requires it

The Container Terminal Altenwerder is simultaneously a testing ground and laboratory for new technical and environmentally-friendly applications at HHLA. At the terminal, FRESH is researching market access solutions for mobile energy storage units for the first time in Germany. The final result of the project will make it possible for other industries with mobile energy storage units to have access to the energy market.

FRESH is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy under the 'IKT for Electromobility III' technology programme and receives subsidies of around € 1.4 million.