Dominique Llonch is the chair of Nidec Industrial Solutions and CEO of Nidec ASI, the multinational leader in the Nidec Group’s Industrial Solutions sector. The company was recently awarded two turnkey projects for electrification of the quays (cold ironing) of Italy’s passenger ports in Genoa and Savona—two multi-million-dollar projects for emission-free logistics. Below, Lllonch lays out how Nidec’s technology will make it possible to improve air quality and to mitigate the acoustic impact of large sea-faring vessels, benefiting the local communities and relaunching the area’s vital tourist economu from a greener perspective

MPT: How did this project come about? What can you tell us of its background?

Dominique Llonch: Nidec ASI, which is part of the energy and infrastructure division of the Nidec Group, has had plans to continue its growth path in Europe and in Italy under the banner of sustainability, consolidating its leadership in the ecological transition sector. In particular, as far as Genoa is concerned, four years after the first shore-to-ship project carried out by Nidec ASI for the port of Genoa Prà, the Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority signed a contract worth tens of millions of dollars, assigning the executive design and works to a temporary joint venture of which Nidec ASI is the leading company, and in which Ceisis, leader in the design, construction, and management of port facilities, and the Molfino and Longo civil engineering firm are consortium partners. This partnership should allow us to complete the project within two to three years.

MPT: How will Nidec’s technology create more environmentally sustainable ports?

Dominique Llonch: Thanks to the innovative electric power supply systems for ships developed by Nidec ASI in Genoa and Savona, it will be possible to reduce emissions and noise pollution with positive impacts on inhabitants and tourists in the areas bordering the two Ligurian ports, which are both located inside the cities, while at the same time having minimal impact on the operation of the ports. 

In Genoa, the project envisages Nidec ASI building six berths, which will allow the cruise ships and ferries docked at the port to switch off their on-board generators, connecting to the electricity grid to meet their operational needs. In order to adapt the voltage and frequency of the power supply network to what the ships require, a conversion system consisting of distribution panels, transformers, and converters that will allow the ships to be powered simultaneously will be implemented. 

In Savona, a cold ironing system similar to that of Genoa will be developed for the cruise port, with a converter that will allow one ship to be powered at a time. For both projects, an automation, monitoring, and control system will allow meeting all safety regulations.

MPT: What were some of the external or regulatory concerns that went into these designs?

Dominique Llonch: The two orders comply with the necessity of following European Union directives, which, since 2003, encourage ports to adopt quays electrification systems (shore-to-ship) to reduce polluting emissions of vessels in the port, while maintaining heating and air conditioning running, as well as the necessary vessel auxiliary systems. 

By 2025 this recommendation will become binding for all European ports. The planned investments for modernizing the ports of Genoa and Savona are co-financed by the EIB (European Investment Bank) and include various interventions such as moving the breakwater in the capital port, access to the railway terminals, cold ironing (electrification of the quays), restructuring the port moorings, and IT security.