TRAZEPO is a competence-building project aimed towards facilitating sustainable energy transition in Norway. The objective is to develop new knowledge on the role ports may take as "energy hubs": How they may facilitate more sustainable transport and enterprise development while transitioning towards zero-emission ports by implementing innovative solutions such as battery charging, onshore power supply, hydrogen, biofuels etc.
This is a complex question, calling for interdisciplinarity and co-development of knowledge. TRAZEPO provides a transition arena where different research groups in SINTEF collaborate with the Norwegian Coastal Administration, the Association of Norwegian ports, and the port administration companies in Oslo, Narvik and Kristiansand on how to realize climate and energy targets for the ports sector. TRAZEPO focuses on the multiplex interactions and connections between technology and social processes. The mix of energy solutions suitable for individual ports is contingent on port-specific factors and circumstances. Existing infrastructure and logistics/transport systems will impact on the options. Last, but not least, the goals, perceptions and resources among actors will influence the scope and benefits of developing energy hubs at particular locations.
To analyze this complexity, TRAZEPO employs perspectives from transitions theory. A first step (WP1) was to conduct a mapping o actors, processes and infrastructure in the three case ports. Based on in-depth qualitative interviews, a more detailed analysis of the drivers, barriers and opportunities for developing ports as low- or zero-emission energy hubs was then performed. Results have been discussed with project user partners and at international research forums and published in a report and several papers. These results have been further processed for publication in an international journal. In WP2 the initial material has been supplemented with a set of in-depth interviews on processes and lessons learnt from the implementation of OPS in Oslo and Kristiansand, resulting in two more articles both of which have been publisjed. As part of WP2, a scientific literature review on technologies and instruments for more sustainable energy solutions in/around ports, has been published. Considering the speed of development in this field, a 'state of the art' mapping of relevant grey literature has also been carried out. In 2020 a large survey was been conducted, targeting a representative sample of port in Norway. In 2021 this material has been analysed and resulted in two articles, one published and one currently under review. This work also draws on qualitative data to throw further light on selected challenges and solutions, both with a view to handling and implementation in the case ports, and with a view to distribution, learning and collaboration between the ports and other actors in the transport and energy system. Also in WP2, a model has been developed to analyse the potential for ports to become zero-emission energy hubs. This has been published in a working paper in the FME NTRANS-series. TRAZEPO is now in the final stage and work focuses on completion of scientific papers and a general roadmap (report) for the development towards zero emission ports and sustainability transitions in the energy system. We are also working on dissemination to non-academic audiences. Finally, the PhD student in the project (at NTNU) is on track to deliver on time.
TRAZEPO will provide relevant decision-makers with knowledge of technologies and opportunities which can accelerate transitions to ports as zero-emission energy hubs. This involves understanding prerequisites on and between the micro level (specific ports, with particular sets of operations, activities and actor constituents) and the macro level (the broader energy and transport system). This project aims to enable decision-makers to progress transitions towards ports as zero-emission energy hubs.
The idea of ports as energy hubs refers to their potential for providing low- and zero-carbon energy to different end users both at the port and beyond. We thus conceptualise energy hubs as both a central point in a region and as a central node in a network where multiple energy distribution systems intercept and wherein energy flows can be converted. Energy hubs can allow refuelling of different energy carriers/source, conversion and production or generation of energy. The energy hub represents an interface between different energy infrastructures and/or loads, and integrating different energy carriers might allow for system improvements.
However, this will require complex adaptation processes involving multiple actors and stakeholders, implying that there is a need for coordination of initiatives and efforts. Also, adaptation of extant, and development of new, energy infrastructure and solutions will require that both technological and non-technological factors (institutions, extant practices) are addressed. Therefore, TRAZEPO draws on insights from sustainability transitions research as an overarching theoretical framework in this cross-disciplinary project that aims to both provide new knowledge of general interest to practitioners, stakeholders and the academic community, as well as specific recommendations as to the transition towards zero-emission ports.