The main goal of the METRO project, worth a total of 2.959.605,20 €, funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the INTERREG VA Italy-Croatia 2014-2020 program, was to improve the quality, safety and environmental sustainability of maritime transport by promoting multimodality and eco- innovative solutions for maritime and coastal transport in the program area of Italy and Croatia.
METRO project officially started with implementation at a Kick-off meeting held in Trieste on February 20th 2019. Partnership within METRO included institutions with diverse expertise: R&D in the field of engineering and maritime studies (University of Trieste - Dept. of Engineering and Architecture, University of Rijeka - Faculty of Engineering, University of Rijeka - Faculty of Maritime Studies), development and engineering of propulsion systems (Wartsila Italia), shipbuilding (Tehnomont Shiypard Pula), coordination and planning of port activities and maritime connections (Trieste Port Authority), territorial and economic development (Istrian Development Agency). Lead partner (University of Trieste) coordinated the overall management of the project and internal communication among the partnership.
As part of this cross-border project, detailed analyzes of the existing infrastructure regarding the development of recharging stations for hybrid vessels and maritime analysis of waterways in the Adriatic Sea were made, and the focus was on the existing ferry lines Brestova - Porozina and Split – Ancona. Two vessels have been designed for reducing the environmental emissions of these routes, evaluating their impact in terms of equivalent emissions of carbon dioxide in respect to the actual solutions. In addition to that, a new green route connecting Trieste and Pula ports using one of the designed ships was proposed, following transportation flows analyses. The impact of the recharging infrastructure required to properly utilize the new ships was analyzed, and proper modifications to the port power systems were proposed, whenever needed. Finally, an action plan for the implementation of the new green routes was prepared.
During the final event, the project and its main results were presented by the project partners.
As an introduction of the final event, METRO project was presented by project manager of Lead partner - dr. Andrea Vicenzutti, from University of Trieste who greeted all present participants and explained the main goals and results achieved through the METRO project in the past three years. In addition, he presented how the tasks were divided through the project implementation, and the role of each individual partner in a particular work package.
In the following, each project partner individually presented the achieved results. First, Mr. Lorenzo Brigati from Wartsila Italia had a presentation with the topic „Sustainable propulsion systems with the use of actual vessel data“. Then Mr. Obrad Kuzmanović from the company Flowship design (external experts for Tehnomont Shipyard) presented „Environment friendly hybrid vessels for short-medium range routes“, after which an interactive poll with questions related to the maritime sector was conducted.
After the poll, the project partners continued with the presentations, so Mr. Roko Dejhalla from the Faculty of Engineering from Rijeka presented the „Hybrid vessel study: FEM, CFD and seakeeping analyzes" which they developed in collaboration with other project partners. Mr. Aleksandar Cuculić from the Faculty of Maritime Studies from Rijeka presented the main challenges in the implementation of hybrid electric ferry charging stations developed within work package no. 4 „Technical infrastructure and regulatory scenario“.
Mr. Stefano Bevilacqua from the Port Network Authority of the Eastern Adriatic Sea presented „Environmental sustainability and energy efficiency in Trieste and Monfalcone ports“ and the final presentation was made by mr. Andi Kalčić from the Istrian Development Agency, concerning the „Action plan for the establishment of new tourist routes based on green technology vessels“ and pilot activities carried out by the Istrian Development Agency in the Region of Istria – Installation of 3 interactive screens in the cities of Pula, Poreč and Rabac & passenger counter device in the port of Pula.
Finally, dr. Andrea Vicenzutti closed the event by analyzing the results of the polls with the public, and providing the following final remark: “It is well known that electrification is one of the ways to improve environmental sustainability of maritime transport. However, being the maritime transportation framework a very complex one, the results of actions towards reducing its environmental impact depend on several different data and parameters. Ships need to be designed differently, depending on their type, size, route, and operative cycle, in order to provide the expected advantages. The port infrastructure also needs to be properly prepared to fully support the new green ships, otherwise the overall results may be impaired. The regulatory framework must be updated to include new technologies and environmentally sustainable solutions, to allow their diffusion. Therefore, designing a more sustainable transportation system requires an integrated approach, which starts from single technologies and components, but must be widened up at the point of considering all the interconnected elements involved in transporting something from a point of the world to another.”