Green City: Kodiak’s New Crane Will Be Sustainable

crane_matson.jpgNew crane arriving in Kodiak. Photo by Carl Royall

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A new gantry crane arriving in Kodiak this week will not only replace its aging predecessor, but also fit into Kodiak’s plan of renewable energy. The majority of Kodiak’s isolated grid system relies on hydroelectricity with support from wind power, and less than 1 percent of that energy comes from diesel.

The new crane will run off flywheel storage systems, wind, and battery. The replacement is courtesy of Matson, which recently acquired Horizon Lines and is responsible for shipping Kodiak’s groceries and other products onto the island.


Matson special advisor Marion Davis says, weather permitting, the crane should arrive Thursday morning.

“And it will probably take one to two months to commission it and get the dock finished and start using it, but that should put the city of Kodiak, which is very important seafood wise in the industry, really in excellent shape for the next forty years there in Kodiak,” says Davis.

He says Matson is working with the city and the Kodiak Electric Association to fit the crane into Kodiak’s electric grid.

Darren Scott, KEA’s president and CEO, says the city’s current crane is diesel fueled, whereas the new one will be electrically driven. He says they’ve installed two fly wheel energy storage systems to filter the power needs of the crane.

“They’re large basically spinning masses of energy, and as the crane picks up a box, it would draw a lot of electricity,” says Scott. “It will take that electricity – basically from those spinning masses we’ll have the flywheels – and then as the crane goes out to drop the load onto the vessel, it actually – kind of like a toyota prius with its regenerative breaks – would send power back to the grid. Well, that will help spin the fly-wheels back up, plus a little power from our system as well.”
Scott provides this example of the energy flow.

“Imagine the crane lifting the container off the boat and then imagine a big spring out there. So, the big spring is cocked and loaded and it’s ready to push out, so the crane lifts the container off the boat, the spring then releases to help it do that. And as the crane then goes and drops the container back on the vessel, in some ways, the spring is pushed back in to build up that energy again.”

He says this approach will save the system a lot of strain.

“The big power injections from the crane don’t come out to impact the rest of the system. They will just kind of stay right there with the crane,” says Scott. “And one of the good things from it is these flywheels that we’ve installed, they’ll either work with the crane and when the crane’s not on operation, they’ll actually work with our wind turbines and our battery energy storage system as well.”

 He says KEA is working with a multinational corporation to use its grid stabilizing generator.

“Taking that actual flywheel and putting a bunch of basically fancy electronics on it to work with our electric grid is kind of the next step that ABB took in their device which is called the PowerStore,” Scott says. “And then we’re using that technology to not only work with the crane, but also work with our wind turbines and battery system.”

Scott says the crane will be a good fit for the community, not only because it’s an electric solution, but also because it’s a much larger crane than the current one, which he says will make it more efficient and may help with the cost of shipping in the future.  

Check Also

A Ravn Alaska airplane at Unalaska’s Tom Madsen Airport in 2022. (Theo Greenly/KUCB)

Midday Report – March 01, 2024

On today’s Midday Report with host Terry Haines: Alaska’s biggest regional airline has laid off …

%d bloggers like this: