How do the Goals of Ports, Governing Authorities, and Local Communities Differ in the Context of Port Electrification, and Why do they Differ?

Costello, Timothy, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Francisco, Pedro, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Lambert, James, EN-SIE, University of Virginia

This project explores a simulation-based optimization study on the Port of Virginia using Simio software, focusing on reducing carbon emissions and improving efficiency. It tackles investment decisions in emerging technologies like electric vehicles, autonomous equipment, and hydrogen power. A thorough assessment of capacity planning and electrification modeling provided strategic guidance for the port's 3-5 year emission reduction and energy use plans. The research emphasized minimizing operational emissions and the application of advanced technologies. Moreover, the study employed Simio to model specific port sections, extending to different equipment and vehicles, with carbon emissions quantified through PowerBI. This thesis also acknowledges the social dimensions of technology implementation, involving various stakeholders such as port operators, governments, and local communities. Theoretical frameworks like Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) and Actor-Network Theory guided the analysis of social dynamics among these groups, their roles, and influence in creating a sustainable port system. The research methodology included literature review and case studies, aiming to unveil deeper motivations underlying each group's alignment with specific goals. The project revealed reasons such as financial constraints for slower port electrification transitions despite shared goals. The Capstone and the socio-technical system research coalesce into a comprehensive technical and social study, presenting valuable insights for similar sustainable port transition challenges. In particular, the STS research contextualizes the technical hurdles faced in the Capstone, explaining the feasibility of certain capacity planning recommendations for maritime container ports.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
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