A study done by A.P. Moller – Maersk and Lloyds Register has confirmed that finding out of alternative and new sustainable energy sources is the best way to decarbonise the shipping industry. Alcohol, biomethane and ammonia are among the best positioned fuels as zero emission fuels according to the market projections.
For the Maersk to reduce the emission of CO2, energy efficiency is the most important tool. Maersk has been placed 10% ahead of the average industry because of its efficiency measures. However, in order to move to zero emissions, it is required that a total shift in the way the deep sea vessels are propelled.
Propulsion fuels that are carbon neutral and new technologies should be introduced in the shipping industry.
“The main challenge is not at sea but on land,” explains Søren Toft, Maersk Chief Operating Officer. “Technology changes inside the vessels are minor when compared to the massive innovative solutions and fuel transformation that must be found to produce and distribute sustainable energy sources on a global scale. We need to have a commercially viable carbon neutral vessel in service 11 years from now.”
These three fuel pathways have relatively similar cost projections but different challenges and opportunities. “It is too early to rule anything out completely, but we are confident that these three are the right places to start. Consequently, we will spend 80% of our focus on this working hypothesis and will keep the remaining 20% to look at other options,” points out Toft.
“The next decade requires industry collaboration as shipping considers its decarbonisation options and looks closely at the potential of fuels like alcohol, biomethane and ammonia,” says LR CEO Alastair Marsh. “This joint modelling exercise between Lloyd’s Register and Maersk indicates that shipowners must invest for fuel flexibility and it is also clear that this transition presents more of an operating expenditure rather than capital expenditure challenge.”
The transition towards the solutions that are based on alcohol by the industry is yet to be defined. However, the transition towards biomethane will be more smooth by using the existing technology and infrastructure. The challenge here is posed by the ‘methane slip’ that is the unburned methane that is emitted along the entire supply chain.
Ammonia is carbon free and renewable electricity can be used to produce it. As compared to that of biomaterial based systems, the conversion rate of this system is higher. The main drawback of ammonia is that it is very toxic nd even small accidents can results to great risks to the crew and the environment. The change from the present to the future application is also a great challenge for ammonia.
According to Maersk and Lloyds Register, it is unlikely for batteries and fuel cells to play a role in the propelling commercially viable vessels that are carbon neutral immediately.
As shipping is responsible for about 2-3% of the GHG emissions, it can make a significant step by creating an economy that is carbon neutral by 2050. Maersk is committed to play its role significantly for the development and making of solutions for the future.