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Decarbonization of Marine Fuel

In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the carbon footprint of the shipping industry and the need to decarbonize marine fuel.

Marine fuel decarbonization refers to the process of reducing the amount of carbon emissions from ships by transitioning to low-carbon or carbon-free fuels. This is an important step towards meeting the global climate goals of limiting the rise in temperatures to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The shipping industry is responsible for around 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the ways to reduce carbon emissions from shipping is to switch to low-carbon fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) or biofuels. Another option is transition to carbon-free fuels such as hydrogen or ammonia, although this is still in the early stages of development. Ammonia is a synthetic gas obtained from fossil fuels, biomass, or renewable sources. It has been considered a potential candidate for a fuel for the future of shipping.

The bunker demand for marine fuels is ca. 370 million tons/year. The decrease in Greenhouse Gases emissions is possible through many diverse operations: improving the engine efficiency, decreasing the vessel hull resistance, slow steaming within certain limits, better planning of vessel voyages, etc. These operations allow for a decrease in total fuel consumption and a decrease in equivalent carbon dioxide emissions.

Steps taken by Shipping Lines-Forwarders-Ports

All Major Carriers & Ports have committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, with intermediate targets of reducing CO2 emissions by 60% by 2030 and Net Zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

In 2019, Maersk announced plans to use biofuels on one of its vessels, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions by up to 90%. In 2021 they ordered eight large container ships that will be powered by carbon-neutral methanol. These ships are expected to be delivered in 2024 and will be able to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 60%. Maersk has also invested in new, more efficient vessels and is exploring the use of alternative fuels such as green ammonia and methanol.

Hapag-Lloyd announced in 2021 that they have placed an order for six LNG-powered container ships that will be delivered in 2023 and 2024. LNG is a cleaner-burning fuel compared to traditional marine fuels and can reduce emissions of sulphur oxides by up to 99%, nitrogen oxides by up to 85%, and carbon dioxide by up to 20%. Hapag-Lloyd has also joined the “Getting to Zero Coalition,” which aims to develop commercially viable zero-emission vessels by 2030.

MSC has also invested in more efficient vessels and has ordered several new container ships with the latest energy-efficient technologies. MSC announced in 2021 that it will begin using green hydrogen and other renewable energy sources to power its ships by 2024. The company plans to invest in a new class of green ships that will run on green hydrogen, battery power, or a combination of both. MSC has recently received delivery of their largest vessel with capacity of 24,116 TEUs. The ship is equipped with cutting-edge technologies such as the first bubble drag reduction system and the shaft generator system, which enable it to carry more cargo while reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Zero emission trucks are being used in the distribution of goods and services, including the movement of freight to and from ports, as part of broader efforts to reduce emissions from the marine sector. New-Zealand & Australia Ports, Port of Los Angeles & California authorities has launched several initiatives to support the adoption of these vehicles, including the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, which provides funding for projects that support the uptake of low emission vehicles, including electric trucks.
Forwarders have also entered into an agreement with the Shipping lines to jointly develop and deploy new technologies to reduce carbon emission. They planned to focus on four areas: the use of hydrogen as a fuel, the development of electrically powered vessels, the use of sustainable fuels such as biofuels and methanol, and the use of digital solutions to optimize shipping operations.

Marine fuel decarbonization is an essential step towards reducing the carbon footprint of the shipping industry and mitigating climate change.

Source: Port technology, Trans-info & Carriers