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Busan Port for a Sustainable World

Field test for the Piezoelectric power generation system

The Busan Port Authority (BPA) has completed the two innovative projects utilizing the features of sea port, one is ‘piezoelectric power generation system’ and the other is ‘construction wastes recycling project’. Both the piezoelectric power and the recycled construction wastes have been assessed not only to contribute to the improvement of environment, but also, to reduce construction cost. The BPA plans to share the gained outcomes of those projects with other domestic and foreign ports.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Amid growing concerns about environmental pollution and the exhaustion of resources, the Busan Port Authority (BPA), managing and operating the Busan Port, has spared no effort to continue the internal and external discussions and technological innovations for a sustainable port. In the process, the BPA has conducted two eco-friendly innovative projects, one is the adoption of piezoelectric power generation system’ and the other is the recycling of construction wastes.


The first innovative project, the ‘piezoelectric power generation system’ is a system that uses harvesting modules to convert and store electric energy from the pressure and vibrational loads imposed by wheels of trucks passing above the system before the gate of container terminals. At the end of 2021, the BPA established the goal of technology development, and set technology development into full swing based on the cooperative scheme with technology developers and port operators in private sector. In the year of 2022, as the first phase, the prototype of the piezoelectric power generation system has been successfully developed. The pilot project for testing the durability of the module and the amount check of generated electric power was completed as planned by joining the two local container terminal operators in the Busan Port.


According to the result of test, the prototype module of a piezoelectric power generation system installed at one gate of container terminal is expected to generate 45 MWh/a year, which is the amount equivalent to the power use of 125,000 households in Busan every year. If the modules are to be installed at all the 47 terminal gates in the Busan New Port, it is expected to generate 2,115 MW in total. That reduces CO2 emissions by 936.522 tCO2eq annually, which is the same effect as planting about 150,000 pine trees. BPA will donate part of the profit from the power generation to nearby fishing villages and local communities.


The second innovative project is the ‘construction wastes recycling project’. The BPA has established a resource circulation system that reuses waste concrete and asphalt concrete for port construction projects. This innovative project had been started from the ideas that a huge amount of aggregate is, in general, needed for port construction projects, and the share of construction waste in the total wastes is very high as much as 44.2% in local. Wasted aggregate, which is reprocessed to a concrete following the high-quality standard, is planned to be used in the ongoing six construction projects in the Busan New Port, port hinterlands, and port redevelopment sites.


To date, the BPA has used 159,347 cube meters of circulated aggregate and 15,545 cube meters of circulated asphalt concrete, leading to an expected budget reduction of 4.06 billion KRW and additional environmental benefit of 7.6 billion KRW. The BPA signed an MOU with the Korea Construction Resources Association and Korea Construction Resource Mutual Aid Association in December 2021 on port construction with resource circulation for ESG management practice. Based on the MoU, the joined parties will cooperate in aggregate circulation quality management, technology cooperation, and the expansion of usage of circulated aggregate.


The guideline contains comprehensive standards for the usage of circulated aggregate, quality management, training and rewards, and so on. The BPA is also making efforts to share with other government-owned companies such as Korea Water Resources Corporation what they have learned and achieved. Its sweat had been rewarded. The BPA had been designated as the Prime Minister’s Award winner for the success of exemplary case using circulated aggregate in September 2022. Through those two innovative projects, the BPA’s status, not only, as the world’s 2nd busiest container transshipment hub port, but also, as the possibility of sustainable eco-friendly port has been reconfirmed across the country.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

Project 1. Piezoelectric Power Generation System. The BPA took note of the features of the port that numbers of cargo trucks entering the port. They are constantly entering the container terminal 24/7 and are heavy enough to make vibration while driving. Most of all, they slow down their speed while passing the gate of the container terminal. Technicians can expect similar amount of speed and pressure and similar numbers of cars which enables to make stable electricity power generation.


Project 2. Recycling of Construction Wastes. The BPA, among the state-owned companies in the country, had “firstly” enacted the guideline with an aim at promoting of usage of circulated aggregate and facilitating the use of recycled aggregate for construction projects even though that are not subject to mandatory use by law. On top of that, the BPA put efforts into maintaining the quality of the recycled resources by setting the guideline above and educating staffs and partner companies.

What is the current status of your innovation?

1. Piezoelectric Power Generation System: Evaluation Phase. The total project period is three years (2022-2024). The goal of the first year is as follows: (i) Designing the energy harvest module (Making a prototype), (ii) Taking two times of demonstration test in the field of Busan Port. The BPA is going to analyze the shortcomings checked from the field test in order to enhance the amount of generated power and to make more durable achievement.


2. Recycling of Construction Wastes: Diffusing Lessons Phase. The BPA has implemented internal system regarding the usage of recycled aggregate. 174,892 ㎥ of circulated aggregate has been used in the construction site in Busan Port so far and now they can assess the social and environmental benefits. There are numbers of requirements to ask for sharing about the BPA’s achievement from other public enterprises such as Korea Water Resources Corporation.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

The BPA has co-developed the piezoelectric power generation system with private enterprises. The BPA has attracted two container terminal operators who support demonstration tests in the field. As the areas inside a port is strictly limited to access for the safety and security issues, the BPA tried to assist the private enterprises to do their field research.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

The small businesses that developed piezoelectric power generation technologies have had an opportunity to advance the technology and open a new market, through the reliable field test result. Also, port operators are able to make profits by taking on a new role as co-generators of electricity. The BPA will donate the part of the profit from the power generation to support education and community facilities for fishing villages and local communities.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

Project 1. Piezoelectric Power Generation System in the Busan Port. (i) As a result of the field test, the prototype module installed at the terminal gate is expected to generate 45 MW/a year. (ii) If this is applied to all 47 gates in Busan New Port, the estimated power generation is approximately 2,115 MW in total. That reduces CO2 emissions by 936.522 tCO2eq annually, which is the same effect as planting about 150,000 pine trees.


Project 2. Recycling of Construction Wastes. The direct and indirect benefits of 11.6 billion KRW from circulated aggregate usage are as follows: (i) A cost reduction of 4.06 billion KRW by circulated aggregate in comparison to natural aggregate. (ii) 174,892 ㎥ of circulated aggregate and asphalt concrete usage lead to 7.58 billion won of economic and environmental benefits.

Challenges and Failures

In the beginning of the recycling of construction wastes project, there was bias against recycled aggregate. Even though all components have met the quality standard, there still were concerns about using circulated aggregate only because those were made from wasted concrete. Accordingly, the BPA has worked on breaking the prejudice, through press releases and PR posts on social media about its quality and environmental and economic effects to help the local society understand. Education program about quality control was also given to the subcontractors.

Conditions for Success

Project 1. Piezoelectric power generation system. Thanks to close collaboration with each party and their professional knowledge, these two projects are being on the right track so far. The SMEs developed the technology as experts in the sector and the private port operators rented the site and vehicles for field tests. BPA has led the project, with the understanding of port operations and the human networks, supporting all stakeholders to utilize expertise and resources and to meet their needs.


Project 2. Recycling of Construction Wastes. BPA has made efforts to set a system and standard to expand the use of circulated aggregate. It encouraged constructors to participate in the project, by providing analysis of quality management standards and cost reduction effect of circulated aggregate usage by the third-party researcher.


Project 1. Piezoelectric power generation system. As the piezoelectric power generation system that the BPA developed is utilizing the features of the port that are the similar speed and weight, and the constant numbers of cargo trucks. The BPA is certain that this system can be introduced to any port in Korea or even overseas for those reasons. The BPA is also expecting to test other spots in the container port besides terminal gates such as waiting point for loading in the container yard.


Project 2. Recycling of Construction Wastes. The case of recycling of construction wastes has already well taken and acknowledged among other public institutions. The BPA has clearly suggested the evidence of budget saving, environmental and economic effect for those who are interested in benchmarking their recycling system.

Lessons Learned

By the realization of innovative ideas, the BPA has enhanced its expertise not only in port operations but also in innovative projects specialized in port. The BPA has unleashed the potential to contribute to the national economy such as job creation based on innovative projects and economic effects.


Busan port is not an exception to job losses caused by recent automation of ports. However, the BPA is committed to creating new jobs and economic effects by adopting new technologies. It is expected to create more jobs, including workers for construction of making recycling used aggregate, system management and additional recruitment of recycling companies when this project spreads.

Anything Else?

On top of that, BPA is being working on other eco-friendly programs for sustainable green port as follows:

1) Transformation of cargohandling equipment power sources from oil to low-carbon eco-friendly energy such as electricity and LNGs
2) Encouragement of private port operators to start ESG management and support the cap-and-trade system (external GHG reduction program) via eco-friendly businesses
3) Social commitment by upcycling ocean plastics with private businesses
4) Solar power generation program through the roof of a warehouse
5) Recycling of heating and cooling energy in buildings using the temperature difference of seawater heat


BPA is always open to new innovations based on new technology and ideas in every sector covering efficiency improvement of port operations, safety and eco-friendly parts. BPA will spare no effort in the innovation of the port through cooperation with private experts and civil society.

Supporting Videos

Year: 2021
Level of Government: Other


  • Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

Innovation provided by:


Date Published:

9 November 2022

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