Maritime trade uses various types of ships to carry goods all around the world, accounting for around 90% of the global trade.. This, of course, involves the burning of fossil fuels to power the ships.. Maritime shipping accounts for about 3% of the GHG emissions..
Although the maritime industry has the lowest carbon emissions among all modes of cargo transport, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the regulatory authority for international shipping, has been working to reduce the harmful impacts of shipping on the environment since the 1960s along with the industry..
In April 2018, the IMO adopted an initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels, thereby actively contributing to global action to combat climate change..
As part of IMO’s efforts to also reduce air pollution from shipping, on January 1st 2020 IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI (colloquially known as IMO2020) regulated to lower the current global limit for sulphur content in marine fuels from 3.50% to 0.50% was implemented..
While this LSF (Low Sulphur Fuel) is one of the ways of combating the reduction of GHG, according to a study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), liquid hydrogen could power nearly all container vessels crossing the Pacific ocean one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world..
The ICCT study found that 99% of the transpacific voyages made in 2015 could have been powered by hydrogen and fuel cells by replacing 5% of cargo space with extra storage for the clean fuel, or by adding an additional port of call to refuel..
The study further concluded that about 43% of the voyages could have taken place without any such changes..
“Achieving even the minimum ambition of the International Maritime Organization’s initial greenhouse gas strategy will require new technologies and fuels to power ships, and these results show that the bunkering [ie, fuel storage] needs of some of the largest ships in the world can be met with hydrogen with only minor changes to operations,” the ICCT said..
TU Delft reports that researcher and former marine officer Klaas Visser believes the use of liquid hydrogen on ships presents great opportunities..
There is great demand for more sustainable techniques in shipping. Not only from consumers, who prefer to make an environmentally friendly ferry crossing, but also from shippers, shipbuilders and shipowners who want to take their responsibility and remain competitive.
The maritime sector has significant potential to lead the way in reducing emissions in the transport sector. Thanks to promising breakthroughs in the use of hydrogen for zero-emission propulsion we are living a boy’s dream. says an enthusiastic Visser.
Visser cites several reasons for the push to use liquid hydrogen on ships
The fuel logistics needed to make shipping more sustainable is not as intricate as that of cars. Moreover, large-scale technical installations aren’t really a problem on big vessels. Because ships are built in small series, there is a continuous design process going on.
This means quick time to market. And finally we can choose from an extremely wide variety of different vessel types, each of which has their advantages, from relatively small inland vessels to gigantic cruise ships and dredgers. In short, it’s now time to vigorously seize the opportunities that the maritime sector is offering us.
The Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led coalition has been working to enable the global energy transition through hydrogen..
The organisation uses its global reach to promote collaboration between governments, industry and investors, and to provide guidance on accelerating the deployment of hydrogen solutions around the world..
The coalition which has 92 members including large multinationals, innovative SMEs and investors collectively welcomed two new steering members: CMA CGM and Microsoft; seven supporting members: Baker Hughes, Clariant, MAHLE, NYK Line, Port of Rotterdam, TechnipFMC and Umicore; and two investors: Mubadala Investment Company and Providence Asset Group..
As per the Council, this group mirrors the wide range of geographical and sector interest in hydrogen – including companies headquartered in Europe, Asia, Australia, the United States and United Arab Emirates, as well as representing sectors such as chemicals (Clariant), automotive (MAHLE), energy and materials technology (Baker Hughes, TechnipFMC, Umicore), shipping (CMA CGM, NYK Line), industrial ports (Port of Rotterdam) and digital (Microsoft).
The two investors – Mubadala Investment Company and Providence Asset Group – will be joining the Hydrogen Council’s Investor Group, established in January 2020 to bridge the gap between the investor community and the hydrogen industry and facilitate the investment of large-scale projects.
CMA CGM and NYK are among the first shipping companies to join the coalition and the Port of Rotterdam is one of the first industrial ports to embrace the initiative..
Earlier this year, Japan’s Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) was part of the world’s first international demonstration operation to transport hydrogen and the construction of an international hydrogen supply chain along with Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association for Technology Development (AHEAD)..
Tweeting on the occasion of CMA CGM joining the Hydrogen Council, Rodolphe Saade, Chairman and CEO of CMA CGM, said
We are proud to join the @HydrogenCouncil to support an ambitious global energy transformation. #Hydrogen may play a key role in developing a cleaner economy and shaping the industrial decarbonization we need. Let’s respond to this challenge together #energytransition https://t.co/8nrPwpuYbW
— Rodolphe Saade (@RodolpheSaade) July 28, 2020