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Argus Media: Fuels choice key to cutting shipping emissions, observes IEA

19 May 2021

Nana Kutin of global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus Media on Tuesday (18 May) published a report summarising International Energy Agency (IEA)’s findings on the reduction of emissions from the maritime sector; the full 224-page report may be obtained here:

Fuel choice is the main driver to lowering emissions from the shipping sector by 2050, the IEA said today.

In its Net Zero by 2050 report the IEA said that a significant part of pre-2030 emissions reduction can come from measures such as slow steaming and wind assistance, and from more energy-efficient newbuilds. But the sector will not reach net zero emissions by 2050 under the IEA’s scenario, because of a lack of low-carbon options and the long lifetime of vessels.

The IEA’s Net‐Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE) shows that advanced biofuels will provide almost 20pc of 2050 marine fuel consumption, and hydrogen-based fuel more than 60pc. Of the latter, green ammonia “looks likely to be a particularly good candidate for scaling up” and will account for around 45pc of global marine fuel demand in the scenario.

Green ammonia is produced by combining nitrogen from the air and hydrogen from the electrolysis of water using renewable electricity. It is easier to handle on board than green hydrogen and has a higher energy density, making it more suitable for longer journeys. Ammonia has its own risks.

The World Bank recently backed green hydrogen and green ammonia as the most promising long-term shipping fuels.

The widespread use of fuels such as green ammonia and green hydrogen relies on the development of necessary infrastructure by 2030, the IEA said, suggesting that industrial hubs for hydrogen-based fuel production should be placed near major ports.

In the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp trading and refining hub, also Europe’s biggest ship refuelling area, Danish utility Orsted plans to build a 1GW green hydrogen plant, and German utility Uniper will build a 500MW green hydrogen plant.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is targeting better efficiency to combat sector emissions.

Electrification of ships will be very limited, according to the IEA’s NZE scenario, with battery technology only viable on short routes.


Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 19 May, 2021

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