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The Valenciaport Foundation, in collaboration with the Port Authority of Valencia has launched two specific challenges to the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator Open Call, with the aim of co-financing 2 Start-ups aimed at improving sustainability in the logistics-port sector in the different phases of the aforementioned acceleration programme. In phase 2, the aid reaches up to 15,000 euros for the validation of the business model and in phase 3 up to 30,000 euros to support the start-up in the preparation for investment.

The selected start-ups will be able to access Phase 2 or 3 of the EIT Climate-KIC Start-ups Acceleration Program according to their degree of maturity and will have the possibility of working closely in the port environment of Valenciaport during the last months of 2020 through the #SuperLabPorts initiative, the first Hub specialized in innovation and entrepreneurship in climate action for the maritime-port sector, which is intended to be the meeting place for the different agents that make up both the industry and the innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

One of the main aims of this initiative is the application of an open innovation strategy in the Port of Valencia, in alignment with one of the major demonstrators in the new EIT Climate-KIC strategy (Deep Demonstration Net-Zero-Emissions for Resilient Maritime Hubs), where the co-design of innovative solutions by the actors involved can be developed and implemented in the port area, thus contributing to achieving its challenge of zero net emissions in 2030.

This is a pilot project as it is the first time that the Valenciaport Foundation has collaborated as an organizing partner of the Spanish edition of the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator and, moreover, co-financed 3 projects. In fact, currently in phase 1 of the Accelerator, one of the start-ups that are being accelerated is being co-financed with a grant of 5,000 Euros, which arose from the previous open call launched by EIT Climate-KIC and in which Valenciaport also participated. Specifically, this is Greenovation, a project developed by the Greenb2e group, which is developing a platform that would allow any measure susceptible to energy assessment through blockchain technology to be certified in future renewable energy facilities to be implemented in the port of Valencia.

This new call, which will remain open until 26 July, as well as being open to any start-up that is developing solutions related to any of the deep demonstrations of EIT’s new Climate-KIC strategy, presents 2 priority challenges in terms of sustainability that the port logistics cluster faces in order to achieve the objectives set for 2030 and which will serve as a guide for the Valenciaport Foundation when selecting the 2 winning start-ups, which will be those that can resolve one or more of these challenges and will become part of the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator, either in phase 2 or phase 3, co-financed by Valenciaport.

Both challenges were defined through a co-creation process, with the aim of aligning the different priorities and lines of work in the field of sustainability, during the meeting of the “Climate Change and Zero Emissions” Group of the Innovation Committee of the Valenciaport cluster held last Monday 22 June, which was also attended by some members of Ecoport. The challenges defined are as follows:

Challenge 1: Innovation in photovoltaic plants in port facilities

The installation of photovoltaic energy in ports presents specificities such as the high level of salinity and humidity, the difficult access for installation and maintenance on cranes or breakwater walls and vibrations that require materials, types of panels and structures that take into account these particularities, in order to maximize the performance of this type of installation in port facilities.

This challenge is looking for start-ups that can provide solutions that maximize the performance of the installation using specific materials, types of panels especially well adapted to the port environment and structures that allow installation on ship-to-shore cranes and RTGs, as well as on breakwater walls. The materials, types of panels and structures proposed could be compared with each other and with standard solutions in pilots to be carried out in the port of Valencia or Gandía.

The aim is to maximize the energy produced, taking into account the constant vibrations and the risk of over-heating of the panels placed on cranes, the complexity of access for installation and maintenance of the panels placed on cranes and on breakwater walls, and the conditions of high salinity and humidity prevailing on all the surfaces where solar panels would be installed throughout the port (car park roofs, building roofs, breakwaters and cranes)

The users of this solution would be the Port Authority of Valencia and the port terminal operators in the Port of Valencia.

Challenge 2: virtual battery for renewable energy storage in an internal network

In all renewable installations for self-consumption there is a temporary decoupling between the energy generated and the energy consumed, that can only be solved if some component allows the absorption of surpluses and provides energy in periods of deficit. If the system is connected to a network with other consumers, this can be achieved through intelligent network management, in which the surpluses of some producers can be used by other consumers.

A key aspect in making investments in renewables attractive to grid members is that these energy flows are reflected in the energy bill of the energy producer, so that both consumed and discharged energy is taken into account. From the point of view of energy management, the rest of the network would act for the electricity producer as an element of electricity storage that has been physically installed, so it can be considered as a virtual battery.

For this system to be viable and attractive, it must include the appropriate elements that allow electricity flows in a technically correct manner (quality of the electricity discharged), it must manage these flows properly, both from an operational and economic point of view, and it must take into account the limitations of the network.

The challenge is to find start-ups that provide both technical and operational solutions, for the creation of a virtual battery system that allows for the proper management of the electricity produced locally by the users of the Port of Valencia.

The clients/users of this solution would be the Port Authority of Valencia and the terminals operated under concession by different operators in the Port of Valencia.

The objective of this call, in addition to attracting talent to the port logistics sector, is to be able to demonstrate the functions and potential of the #SuperLabPorts initiative to the agents of the cluster, thus instilling a culture of open innovation in the port community, which will be made to participate in the winner of the challenge, its journey through the accelerator, as well as the possibility of benefiting from its solutions through the implementation of pilots in its facilities.

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