Puertos del Estado has started a group of Research, Development and Innovation projects with the aim of providing Port Authorities with the necessary tools for preventing and controlling any environmental effects that are a consequence of their activity. Amongst these, it is worth highlighting:
Project HADA (Automatic Environmental Diagnosis Tool) has implemented a tool for diagnosing and predicting air quality in the ports of Huelva, A Coruña, Santander, Bilbao, Barcelona, Tarragona, Valencia and Cartagena, with a system for supporting decision-making in the event of episodes of air pollution, paying special attention to the problem of suspended and settleable particles. A sound level control methodology was also established for the Port of Bilbao.
This project lasted three years and was completed on 30 June 2005. The total cost was €2,362,618, and it received a grant from the European Commission of €808,145.
Project HADA met preset goals. Air quality control stations have been installed in seven of the ports included in the project. Each station has a sulfur dioxide analyzer; a nitrogen oxide analyzer; a carbon monoxide analyzer; and a PM10 dust catcher. Six automatic weather stations have also been installed in the same number of ports: two sound monitoring terminals in the Port of Bilbao, a high volume particulate catcher in the Port of Tarragona and a laser particulate spectrometer and a BTX monitor at the mobile station in the Port of Barcelona.
With reference to numeric modeling, a particle dispersion model has been developed that contemplates the PM10 emissions characteristics in port operations with solid bulk, with a module that simulates the depositing of settleable particulates. An emissions model able to provide rates of PM10 and settleable particulate emission depending on the material moved, the technology used for handling it, mitigation measures and weather conditions.
Through the different campaigns that have taken place at the port of Tarragona, samples obtained from different operations loading and unloading clinker, tapioca, phosphate, soya flour, pyrite ash, mineral manganese, coke, fine silicon-manganese, alfalfa, soft coal, andalusite, corn and cassava. An exhaustive study of measures for mitigating or correcting atmospheric emissions provoked by port operations has also been performed, analyzing their environmental, technical and financial viability. Lastly, an objective method has been developed for supporting decision-making, which uses the available information to provide an immediate and reasoned suggestion regarding the most appropriate response in the face of a possible episode of air pollution caused by activities of handling solid bulk on wharfs or in open spaces in the port.
Plans for environmental instrumentation
The operations performed inside large commercial ports may generate episodes of air and marine pollution that must be prevented and controlled to meet the goals for environmental protection assumed by the Port Authorities. The Port Authority of Valencia has contemplated the development of an environmental policy that is consistent with the port activity, and that is exercised in its area of authority, as a priority goal within its business strategy framework. An environmental policy that has been specified, amongst others, in the "Port Environmental Instrumentation Plan for the Atmosphere (PIMA) project, already operating in the Port of Valencia and being implemented in the Port of A Coruña, which provides environmental managers with items for preventing and controlling air pollution from particulates.
Innovation in mitigating measures:design of windbreaks
Puertos del Estado has signed an agreement with the "Ignacio Da Riva" Institute for Microgravity (IDR/UPM), Madrid Polytechnic University, with the goal of undertaking a Study of Windbreaks for the Protection of Materials in Ports and Essays on Aerodynamic Tunnels Tailored to the Characteristics of Selected Windbreaks in response to the most recent developments in this field.
The purpose of windbreaks and walls is to modify the speed and turbulence of the incidental wind flow under these protective items, establishing a more or less calm flow area (the recirculation bubble) where both the average wind speed and the speeds of turbulent agitation are lower than the incidental wind, if the windbreak is appropriately designed. Amongst its applications in civil engineering is the stabilizing of sand or dry goods stored outdoors. In the case of coal yards or dusty solid bulk stored in ports, stabilization of it will be useful for preventing, or minimizing insofar as possible, the wind's undesired moving of the dust to other areas.
Design of a strategic environmental control system for port activities
Puertos del Estado has signed an agreement with the University of Valencia-Estudi General to design a Strategic Environmental Control System for Port Activities, focussing on eliminating or mitigating possible environmental problems derived from operations performed in the ports. This automatic management system will first recommend and subsequently complement the Control and Follow-up Systems (SSC) for port works and operations, weather variables and the concentration of suspended particulates, establishing —from the data obtained— an immediate help system for decision-making in the face of episodes of pollution caused by port activities.
Guide to scenic improvement of port environments
Drawn up by the Instituto Cerdá and sponsored by Puertos del Estado, its main goal is to suggest recommendations for the scenic integration of ports in the urban and peri-urban environments in which they are found.
The guide is an early response to the sustainable development of ports in their social and environmental aspect, which covers a wider area than the strictly urban one (port city integration) as it includes visual perspectives from beaches, marshlands and estuaries.
Windbreaks and other mitigating measures
This manual includes a general description of the problem of piles of dust in port environments and the efficiency of either artificial or plant windbreaks. Its annexes describe how to characterize the incidental wind and calculate the dust emissions from piles, road traffic and industrial wind erosion.
System of port indicators for sustainable environmental management (INDAPORT)
Puertos del Estado —along with the Port Authority of Valencia and the IPEC Foundation have developed a System of Environmental Indicators belonging to the Port System.
Following European Union indications, after its implementation, this system will ensure the required information for performing an agile check and follow-up of compliance with set environmental goals, and also the visualization of the efficiency of the Environmental Policy put into practice by the Port Authorities.
ROM 5.1 – 05 Quality of coastal waters in port areas
Within the ROM —Recommendations for Marine Works— Program, ROM 5.1, which contains regulatory, methodological and technological aspects, is intended to act as a base document for the planning and development of quality management systems for port water.
Guide to Best Practices in the Handling of Solid Bulk
Puertos del Estado is drawing up a guide to analyze the main environmental aspects connected to this type of operation, and both technical and operational recommendations will be established to minimize any possible environmental impacts.
Some of the main terminals that operate with this type of goods in the ports that make up the port system of general interest have collaborated on the development of this guide.