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The million-dollar question on greener fuels

When is the greener fuel migration taking place, and will it be in time?

The subject of greener fuels is perpetually debated. All stakeholders are under immense pressure to address the climate crisis ever since the COP26 Summit. It is heartening to see some nations commencing measures to go green, but the elephant in the room is availability in large scales.

Pace depends on the stakeholders
Maritime transport is known to emit around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually, translating to at least 2.5 per cent of global emissions. Though reducing carbon emissions is important for the maritime industry, time is a concern on adopting environmentally-friendly fuels.

International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) target of halving the sector’s carbon emissions by 2050 had the industry exploring zero-emission vessels. For instance, Japan’s ship classification society, ClassNK issued an Approval in Principle (AiP) for the design of an ammonia-fuelled Panamax bulk carrier developed by Planning and Design Center for Greener Ships (GSC).

Though ammonia though does not emit carbon dioxide (CO2) when burnt, the industry has yet to develop international standards for using ammonia-powered vessels. ClassNK published its “Guidelines for Ships Using Alternative Fuels” in August 2021 to minimise the risks related to ammonia-fuelled ships for crew, and the environment by stipulating requirements for installation, controls, and safety devices. Meanwhile, China has earned itself a reputation for being the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer, and currently selling its inventory.

Nick Brown, Chief Executive from Lloyd’s Register said, “Our industry is no longer asking ‘if’ or ‘when’ decarbonisation should take place. We know we must act now. The question that remains is ‘how’ the maritime industry will bring about meaningful change during this crucial decade of action.”

According to the Global Maritime Forum’s estimates, investments of €0.7 to €1.05 trillion are needed to at least halve carbon emissions from shipping by 2050. The type of investments required range from modifications to ships (engines, on-board storage and ship- based energy efficiency technologies), fuel production, on-land storage and bunkering infrastructure. Therefore migration rate can also be thwarted by costs – if all stakeholders are not inclined to invest just yet.

Marine Online Media Team
Please email us at marketing@marineonline.com to contact the author for this article.

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