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News ID: 75303 |
Publish Date: 12:08 - 31 July 2017

What Will Power Shipping in 2050?

According to MANA reporter, Leah Kinthaert asked several maritime experts which alternative fuel they thought would see the largest growth by 2050. Will LNG remain on top of the heap, or will battery power or wind propulsion lead the way?

What Will Power Shipping in 2050?
 Dr Nishatabbas Rehmatull " Research Associate at UCL Energy Institute said: “The answer to your question will depend mostly on what happens in the policies for carbonisation in shipping — the current state of policies and economics alone may not justify more use of alternative sources of energy. The take up and growth of various alternative energy sources will differ depending on the ambition of the policies, for example the price of carbon. At the lower end of the scale, we might see the increased take-up wind technologies, such as Flettner rotors, and on the higher end of the scale we can even see the take-up of hydrogen and fuel cells.
“A lot of our evidence comes from combining social science, quantitative and qualitative data gathering, as well as modelling of the shipping sector, using GloTraM, which combines multi-disciplinary analysis and modelling techniques to estimate foreseeable futures of the shipping industry — for example our report for the Danish Shipowners Association, CO2 emissions in shipping, and the Carbon War Room, Navigating Decarbonisation.”
Katharine Palmer Environmental Manager at Lloyd's Register answered “Given the need for the shipping sector to decarbonise on a trajectory aligned with the rest of the economy, we would expect to see growth in low-carbon energy sources such as batteries, hydrogen, biofuels and renewables. Our experience shows there are practical applications of innovations in these energy sources occurring in niche sectors of shipping, primarily tug, ferry and shortsea shipping. The key is to scale these energy sources to enable viable alternatives for different shipping sectors, and it’s important to remember that based on ship type, operating profile and flexibility viability will mean different things to different sectors.”
Dr Kirsi Tikka at Executive Vice President for Global Marine replied: “Current efforts to reduce carbon emissions are driving changes that we believe will deliver significant emissions reductions in the shipping industry by 2050. Liquefied natural gas will continue to play an important role as an alternative to conventional fuel oil for many years, but it is not the final solution in a decarbonised world. New sources, including wind, solar, biofuels, hydrogen fuel cells and other novel concepts will continue to emerge as the industry moves toward achieving the goal of low to zero emissions.
“Given the recent advancements in hydrogen fuel cells and wind technologies, I think much of the growth will likely come from these sources. Much work is still needed, however, to make them cost-effective and fit for purpose. At ABS, we are already on this journey with industry. One recent project with industry and government stakeholders focused on proving the feasibility of a high-speed ferry, the SF Breeze, powered entirely by hydrogen fuel cells. As a technology leader, ABS is always looking ahead to anticipate industry’s needs and working alongside our clients to help prove new and innovative concepts that will promote a safer and more sustainable shipping industry.”
Bjørn Haugland at Chief Sustainability Officer stated: “A recent study on low-carbon pathways for shipping carried out by DNVGL shows that if we are to significantly reduce emissions from shipping as an industry without using nuclear fuel, the only real option we have today is sustainable biofuels, probably mainly in the form of biodiesel, as this is what today's prime movers utilise. However, whether there will be sufficient availability at competitive cost of such biofuels for ships is very questionable. In such a scenario, it will therefore have to be sustainable biofuels that see the largest percentage growth by 2050.”
Birgit Marie Liodden , Director of Nor-Shipping replied:“I believe the future use of energy in our industry is hybrid. There isn't a one size fits all due to the industry and infrastructure needs. For coastal and shortsea shipping, I predict battery technology will be the clear winner. For deepsea, I have a strong belief in hydrogen, though several technological breakthroughs are required first. And even though it has been considered less relevant, I would add that I am optimistic on wave power as well towards 2050. It will take time, but I'm quite confident that we will eventually be capable of utilising the enormous power of the oceans.”
Diane Gilpin ,Chief Executive at Smart Green Shipping Alliance replied” “By 2050, ships must operate in a net zero-emission world if the Paris Agreement’s 2°C target is to be met. Failure means the world we know is left behind. The most technically and commercially viable zero or low-emission energy, or combination of energies, for specific ship types must be trialled as a matter of urgency. It’s not just about propulsion, but the ships’ lifecycle. It will take a monumental effort to decarbonise the entire shipping system. 
Edvard Molitor , Senior Manager Environment at Gothenburg Port Authority stated: “What we have learned in the last few years is that predictions have become more difficult. When  Sulphur Emission Control Areas came around, we thought LNG was going to grow quickly, but it has not. At the same time, scrubbers were initially thought to be only for retrofits and regional traffic, but now we see them in newbuildings for oceangoing traffic as well. I think the only certain prediction is that the market for maritime fuel will be much more diverse in the future than today, with vessels using various types of oil, methanol, and methane (LNG/liquefied bio gas). What I hope for from an environmental point of view is that we will see a much larger share of bio-based fuels on the maritime market, and that eventually we may also see a potential for electricity and various hybrid solutions, at least for shorter routes.”
Dr Anne-Marie Warris , Director at Ecoreflect replied: “Mid-term growth by 2030: wind supported propulsion — because it has a real commercial track record in reducing the use of conventional fuel; it is free to use; it is not restricted, so there is no competition with other users; and its use generates no carbon emissions. Wind will in the medium term need conventional fuels to achieve efficient and low-carbon shipping, the combined carbon footprint of which will be less than LNG. Wind is likely to be used as support in emerging hybrid propulsion.
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