Wednesday, September 16, 2020

New Project to Review Pollution in UK Harbours and Ports

Battle Against Emissions Continues
Shipping News Feature

UK – As part of the battle to cut emissions from the entire shipping industry Leicestershire-based start-up company, Redshift Associates has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme to develop an innovative new service that will model and map air pollution for UK harbours and ports.

Redshift and the University of Leicester are collaborating to develop analytic solutions that extract operational information on shipping from remote sensing data from the marine Automatic Identification System (AIS). This will enable the company to determine pollution emissions in real-time from shipping underway or in harbour.

Through this feasibility study for the new service, the project team is working in partnership with Belfast Harbour to evaluate pollution emissions from shipping and other industrial activity to make an assessment of the overall atmospheric emissions inventory within the Harbour Estate. Redshift Associates’ review of Belfast Harbour’s air quality inventory will identify measures that will support an air quality action plan in line with their strategic vision to be a green port and an iconic waterfront for the city.

The SPRINT project is expected to contribute to the development of a space-enabled, commercial monitoring service for ports and harbours for maximising energy saving, pollution reduction, de-carbonisation and transition to renewable energy options for port operations.

The University of Leicester is providing data analytics support on the acquisition, formatting and processing of the raw shipping and road traffic data. The University will also develop new analytical processes for combining AIS and air quality data to provide new information on shipping pollution emissions that are time resolved, geospatially identified and aggregated for shipping traffic movements in harbour approaches and ports.

The project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies. Professor Alan Wells, Founder and Director of Redshift Associates said:

“The issue of air quality is one of the core challenges being addressed and explored by smart city strategies. Air quality and energy consumption are the highest environmental priorities for European ports according to the environmental report for 2019 of the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO).”

“Redshift Associates is bringing together new approaches to air pollution in ports and harbours through satellite remote sensing. The basis of our collaboration with the University of Leicester, through the SPRINT programme, is its support in taking the visual data and applying a high level of validation and interpretation. This approach adds immense value by appreciating the ways in which you can apply analytics to a large amount of remote sensing data and turn that into applications with high commercial value.”

Whilst we are seeing real progress in cutting pollution from vessels’ in harbour with the advent of electric ferries, onshore charging facilities etc. first it is necessary to discover the precise nature and severity of the problem prompting Jeremy Levesley, Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Leicester to add:

“The use of data is often the last thing that people think about and a particular challenge is curating data in such a way that you can make sense of it in the most effective way. Working with Redshift Associates, the university is helping to apply maths skills and technology tools to the collection, analysis and processing of the data.

Photo: Bro Nyborg and Stena Mersey, Belfast harbour (April 2019) Copyright Albert Bridge –