Decarbonisation - BIMCO Bulletin


ENVIRONMENT March 2020 Shipping will face tough competition in decarbonisation race By Mette Kronholm Frænde, Communications Manager and Editor at BIMCO On the road to decarbonisation, the shipping industry will be in tough competition with other industries for fuel, and targeting the large ocean-going vessels will be key, according to Dino Imhof, of ABB Turbo Systems. He offers his view of the potential in different paths towards decarbonisation. There are many challenges for the shipping industry on the path to decarbonisation. One of the biggest ones is competition, because it is one of many industries that will be working towards reducing its carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint in the years to come. “All industry sectors must take a share in the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and the right fuels will not just be available for shipping. Other transport sectors, such as aviation and road, will also be looking for solutions to reduce emissions,” says Dino Imhof, Head of Turbocharging Solutions at ABB Turbo Systems. International shipping delivers more than 90% of global trade, accounts for 2-3% of CO2 emissions, and consumes around 270 million tonnes of oil equivalent per year. “Many sectors and industries will become increasingly interlinked through this fuel energy transition,” Imhof says. “Take renewables. Renewable electricity is limited, and enormous investments will be needed to meet demand from all sectors, as well as demand from the public.” Large ocean-going vessels are key As well as looking at the best way to ensure the shipping industry is in a favourable position to face competition for energy sources and future fuels, the focus should be on large ocean-going vessels. “Ships above 15,000 GT account for 80% of the CO2 emissions from global international shipping, but involve only 30% of the entire fleet. This includes the largest and most efficient vessels,” Imhof says, adding: “On the pathway to zero-carbon energy sources for shipping, low, net-zero and zero-carbon emission technologies must target large ocean-going ships.” Internal combustion engine – the most energy-efficient solution? In this process, Imhof argues that hydrogen-based fuels are key, and that internal combustion engines remain the most energy-efficient, reliable and cost-effective solution for deep-sea shipping. He also argues that, while hydrogen is the starting product of the most promising net-zero or zero- carbon fuels, biofuels are not sustainable because of their limited availability, indirect land-use change, and the related potential negative net impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Efficiency remains a major driver and most areas for improvement can be done today. “Initiatives such as waste-heat recovery, de-rating, and hybridisation can be done – so can hydrodynamic improvements, such as hull optimisation. On the digital side, many major players already use time arrival and weather routing to boost efficiency,” says Imhof. “On the machinery side, an improvement in efficiency of 10% results, directly, in a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions. That is a win-win, and all these measures are essential steps towards decarbonisation that must be taken now.” On the machinery side, an improvement in efficiency of 10% results, directly, in a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions There are many challenges for the shipping industry on the path to decarbonisation. One of the biggest ones is competition More binding measures needed Improving efficiency is not enough to achieve 2050 ambition levels, however. Once the low-hanging fruits have been picked, fuels and regulatory measures ought to be next in line. Significant upfront investments are required With efficiency improvements, and low-carbon fuels (and, in the future, net-zero and zero-carbon fuels) gaining a foothold, Imhof believes stricter measures in the industry are necessary, or the processes will stall. “More binding measures must be adopted for the zero and net-zero carbon fuels to gain a foothold. Otherwise, no investment in the production of these fuels can be stimulated, and we will not have respective amounts ready for the 2030 decade,” he says. “Significant upfront investments are required, dominated by the build-up of fuel production and supply chain. On the one hand, competition for the net-zero carbon fuels – and for the, so far, limited renewable electricity – can be expected; on the other hand, increasing demand from various industries can be a benefit because of the scale effect.” Connect with BIMCO “We need different fuels – fuels with a net-zero or even zero-carbon footprint – in production, the supply chain and consumption. Hydrogen is the starting product of most net-zero or zero-carbon fuels, but, for most applications, we need further processing of the hydrogen for transportation and storage,” Imhof says. Photo (top): iStock / Lisa-Blue Facebook Twitter Linkedin YouTube