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Port of Gdansk partners with IoT start-up to improve air quality

Poland’s Port of Gdansk, one of the largest seaports in the Baltic Sea, is using IoT tools to tackle emissions.


The Port of Gdansk in Poland is working with start-up Feature Forest to minimise harmful emissions and air pollution.

Feature Forest’s fPerception system, based on on Libelium technology, enables the immediate detection of hazardous chemical compounds polluting the air. Using an app, customers can monitor the state of air pollution at a given location, in real time. The fPerception app compares the level of pollution with the norms, and generates alerts if they are exceeded.

Preventing port pollution

More than 84% of world trade is carried by maritime transport. Although CO2 emissions from container vessels are comparatively much lower than air freight emissions, a very large 18,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) container vessel still emits 3 grams of CO2 per tonne/kilometre. Recent studies suggest that maritime transport contributes to 3.5 – 4% of pollution with sulfur, a highly carcinogenic agent.

The integration of land transport with ports also creates environmental impacts such as noise and air pollution and traffic congestion.

As one of the largest seaports in the Baltic Sea, with more than 37 million tons of trans-shipments, these issues are especially pressing for the Port of Gdansk. Poland’s Deputy Minister of Maritime Economy, Grzegorz Witkowski, said recently: "The constant growth of maritime trade and the privileged situation of Poland in the Baltic region forces the country to invest in the development of its port infrastructures.”

Port of Gdansk pinpoints pollutants

Feature Forest is a Polish start-up, specialising in developing software solutions for the IoT. The company, together with 15 other start-ups, has completed the Space3ac Acceleration Program, a project which looks to minimise the negative impact of port activity as well as solving transportation issues in the surrounding areas of the Gdansk Port.

The Feature Forest solution aims to localise the sources of air pollutants in the area of the port, such as the berthing of vessels, the heat and power plants, the cargo handling activities, the surrounding industry or the raising road and railway transport. The nodes are located close to potential sources of pollution, then information about gas concentration is correlated with wind direction and speed.

How it works

The fPerception system measures: air temperature; relative humidity; air pressure; ammonia (NH3); hydrogen sulfide (H2S); phosphine (PH3); wind speed; wind direction; and rain fall.

Libelium Waspmote Plug & Sense! sensor nodes gather information from the environment and send it via 4G wireless communication protocol to the Meshlium Gateway 4G 802.15.4 AP 868 EU. Once the information is received, Meshlium sends the data in MQTT, a publish/subscribe, lightweight messaging protocol. The MQTT broker and the app are deployed on proprietary hardware and software, where the information is processed and provided in a dashboard.

The expected benefits of this project are: time savings thanks to the faster and easier access to reliable information on actual state of air pollution; increased safety of workers thanks to the implementation of the early warning pollution alert system; and cost savings due to the compliance with air pollution regulations.

Promising partnership

Magdalena Korpalska, Chief Envionmental Specialist, Port of Gdańsk, said: “Pollution emissions from the port activities can negatively impact the local environment and human health. Port of Gdańsk Authority S.A. believes that constant monitoring and evaluation of the pollution emissions from the shipping operations are important aspects that must be studied.


"The fPerception system…gives us really important knowledge about relative contributions of air emissions from various sources caused by the mobile source emissions related to commercial port activities.

She added: “Port of Gdańsk S.A. supports all initiatives that concern environmental protection. So far the cooperation with Feature Forest is very interesting and promising."

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