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DNV on the Nordic Roadmap: Plotting a course for the maritime energy transition

Led by DNV, the Nordic Roadmap project brings together key stakeholders from across the Nordic region in comprehensively plotting a course for the transition to zero-emission bunker fuels.

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Classification society DNV on Thursday (8 June) released a Maritime Impact report on the Nordic Roadmap project it is leading, which focuses on three specific barriers hindering the transition to zero-emission fuels including the lack of demand for green transport and high cost of zero-emission bunker fuels as well as the low fuel availability and lack of bunkering infrastructure:

Led by DNV, the Nordic Roadmap project brings together key stakeholders from across the Nordic region in comprehensively plotting a course for the transition to zero-emission fuels. This starts with collaboration and technical developments, providing the foundation for the Nordic Fuel Transition Roadmap and the piloting of green shipping corridors and taking actions towards the ultimate goal of zero-emission shipping in 2050.

Recent moves by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have set more ambitious decarbonization targets for international shipping. In addition, the Nordic countries have committed to an acceleration of the process, for example by signing the Declaration on Zero Emission Shipping by 2050 and the Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors during COP26 in 2021. These commitments have all set the stage for the establishment of the Nordic Fuel Transition Roadmap, which will help to make the Nordic region the most sustainable and integrated maritime region in the world by 2030.

The foundation of the Nordic Roadmap project

Since 2015, DNV has coordinated the Norwegian Green Shipping Programme (GSP), including developing the collaboration platform and facilitating pilot projects. The GSP has already led to the realization of several zero-emission routes (now known as green shipping corridors) in Norway, such as Yara Birkeland and ASKO’s electrified and soon-to-be autonomous “sea drones” operating across the Oslofjord. In addition, DNV has been involved in the electrification of the Norwegian ferry network, where more than 70 battery-electric ferries are now operating along the Norwegian coast.

Inspired by the GSP, DNV manages the Nordic Roadmap project – a project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers with strong regional support from all of the Nordic countries – which in its early stages involves building the necessary technical knowledge and establishing the Nordic collaboration platform, as well as the key task of contributing to regulatory development for ammonia and hydrogen. With these building blocks in place, the main focus now is to develop a strategic fuel transition roadmap for the Nordics and initiate green shipping corridor pilot studies.

To date, the project has delivered ten technical reports, where green shipping corridors and safety aspects of the future fuels have been a key focus. The reports have been delivered in collaboration with the contributing partners Chalmers University of Technology, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, MAN Energy Solutions, Menon Economics and Litehauz. This project is also drawing on the input and experience of around 50 supporting partners across the Nordics. Each of these partners brings value to the key deliverables of the project, and the Nordic Roadmap aims to continually recruit more partners as it advances towards the piloting of green shipping corridors.

Assembly of Nordic stakeholders

Collaboration lies at the heart of the Nordic Roadmap project.  

“We need to create a cross-value chain dialogue and build green business cases. The Nordic collaboration platform is established to facilitate knowledge-sharing and greener partnerships,” says Dorthe Alida Slotvik, Consultant in Environment Advisory at DNV Maritime, and part of the DNV team steering the Nordic Roadmap project. “The focus is to overcome key barriers for the uptake of zero-emission fuels and to accelerate the decarbonization of Nordic shipping.” 

The success of this collaboration is enhanced by engagement across the value chain.  

“We need to engage as many relevant stakeholders as possible from an early stage,” says Slotvik. “This includes governments, shipowners, cargo owners, ports, energy suppliers and many others, all collaborating to find greener solutions for the Nordics. 

“The fuel transition is challenging and complex. However, green shipping corridors can be used to handle the barriers at a more manageable scale, involving and building business cases for key stakeholders on that specific route.” 

Safety is a prerequisite for the successful and timely introduction of zero-emission fuels

The Nordic Roadmap project focuses on ammonia, hydrogen and methanol as fuels, and these will be assessed in the initial green shipping corridor pilot studies. The safety reports delivered in the project have reviewed the fuels’ unique properties and their consequences for safety and operability, assessing suitable safety barriers to mitigate, for example, the toxicity of ammonia and the explosivity of hydrogen.  

“The development of international regulations by IMO is key to enable safe implementation of zero-emission fuels and to make the approval process more efficient. The Nordic Roadmap project has therefore prepared draft proposals aimed at accelerating the ongoing IMO process in developing guidelines for the use of ammonia,” says Linda Sigrid Hammer, Principal Consultant at DNV and safety task leader of the Nordic Roadmap project. “We cannot go green without doing it safely. Any accident involving a new ship fuel would, in addition to the risk to persons directly involved, be a serious setback for the use of this fuel for the whole industry.”

Strategic document as foundation for green shipping corridors

Once relevant partners are engaged and key technical and safety aspects have been addressed, the Nordic Roadmap project aims to create a strategic document – the Nordic Fuel Transition Roadmap – which will set out the course and propose specific goals and actions for the decarbonization of shipping in the Nordics.  

“The Nordic Fuel Transition Roadmap will be a strategic action plan with the main goal of zero-emission Nordic shipping by 2050,” says Slotvik. “It will draw on all of the technical knowledge about the future fuels and the practical experience from the pilot studies and the industry, as well as the inputs from governments and industry partners. The development of the roadmap is interactive and shall determine actions that must be taken to overcome key barriers and make the Nordics a first-mover region for the decarbonization of shipping.”

Solving the “chicken and egg” problem

The Nordic Fuel Transition Roadmap focuses on three specific barriers hindering the transition to zero-emission fuels. These are the lack of demand for green transport and high cost of zero-emission fuels, the low fuel availability and lack of bunkering infrastructure, and the technical immaturity and lack of specific safety regulations. Green shipping corridors can resolve these issues by creating a demand for a particular fuel, securing offtake commitments, and encouraging supply-side investment as well as the development of relevant infrastructure.

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“We have a ‘chicken and egg’ problem for the demand and supply of zero-emission fuels, where there is a lack of certainty and clear signals on both ends,” says Slotvik. “Green shipping corridors can help to solve this for a specific route by getting partners to sit around the same table, discuss the business case, and agree on a balanced and certain supply and demand. Critical for the realization of green shipping corridors will be to find ways to share risks and close the significant cost gap between zero-emission fuels and conventional fuels.”  

Government and other public authorities can play a key role in this. 

“A key question is how to design the financial support for closing the cost gap for first movers,” continues Slotvik. “Experience from green shipping corridors in Norway is that the public sector can play an important role in the enabling and phase-in period for the uptake of new zero-emission technologies in shipping.”

Green shipping corridors can facilitate first movers using zero-emission fuels

The Nordic Roadmap project has identified 81 potential green shipping corridors and shortlisted six promising routes in the Nordics. The project is now initiating the first three green shipping corridor pilot studies, focusing on hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol.   

“Green shipping corridors will be an important mechanism now in the beginning; to establish the necessary partnerships, to get the fuel infrastructure up and running in the key ports, to gain experience with new ship fuels and technologies, and to ensure well-developed safety regulations,” concludes Slotvik. “We want to demonstrate how this can be done and we hope that the success and learnings of these pilots can lead to the establishment of several green shipping corridors, eventually creating an environment where these fuels and the vessels that use them are the default option, while fossil fuels are confined to the past.” 

Taking green shipping corridors to a global level

The knowledge base gathered by the Nordic Roadmap project and all the delivered reports are freely available and can be used to increase the understanding of zero-emission fuels and aid the development of other green shipping corridors around the globe. The Nordics are also looking at potential corridors going out of the Nordics, for example linked to North-Western Europe and the Baltics. 

“Ultimately, the Nordic Roadmap wants to take action and accelerate shipping’s shift towards zero-emission fuels and vessels,” says Øyvind Endresen, Senior Principal Consultant at DNV and project manager of the Nordic Roadmap project. “We believe that green shipping corridors will kick-start the transition and further scale to green shipping networks or areas, and then, hopefully, a global uptake of zero-emission fuels.”  

The 2020s will be the decisive decade for shipping to achieve decarbonization ambitions, and the Nordic Roadmap project is helping the maritime industry to map the best course.

Photo credit: CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Published: 30 October, 2023

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Wind-assisted

Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

Firm signed a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard “Pacific Sentinel”.

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Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Thursday (22 February) said it signed a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard the Pacific Sentinel

The turnkey ‘suction sail’ technology, which drags air across an aerodynamic surface to generate exceptional propulsive efficiency, will be fitted later this year, helping the 183-metre, 50,000 DWT oil and chemical tanker reduce overall energy consumption by approximately 10%, depending on vessel routing.

Suitable for both newbuilds and retrofit projects, the system delivers energy efficiency and cost savings for a broad range of vessels, regardless of their size and age.

Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

José Miguel Bermudez, CEO and co-founder at bound4blue, said: “Signing an agreement with an industry player of the scale and reputation of EPS not only highlights the growing recognition of wind-assisted propulsion as a vital solution for maximising both environmental and commercial benefits, but also underscores the confidence industry leaders have in our proven technology.”

“It’s exciting to secure our first contract in Singapore, particularly with EPS, a company known for both its business success and its environmental commitment.”

“We see the company as a role model for shipping in that respect. As such this is a milestone development, one that we hope will pave the way for future installations across EPS’ fleet, further solidifying our presence in the region.”

Cyril Ducau, Chief Executive Officer at EPS, said: “EPS is committed to exploring and implementing innovative solutions that improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions across our fleet.” 

“Over the past six years, our investments in projects including dual fuel vessels, carbon capture, biofuels, voyage optimisation technology and more have allowed us to reduce our emissions intensity by 30% and achieve an Annual Efficiency Ratio (AER) of 3.6 CO2g/dwt-mile in 2023, outperforming our emission intensity targets ahead of schedule. The addition of the bound4blue groundbreaking wind assisted propulsion will enhance our efforts on this path to decarbonise.”

“With this project, we are confident that the emission reductions gained through eSAILs® on Pacific Sentinel will help us better evaluate the GHG reduction potential of wind assisted propulsion on our fleet in the long run.”

Pacific Sentinel will achieve a ‘wind assisted’ notation from class society ABS once the eSAILs® are installed. 

 

Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 23 February, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Galveston LNG Bunker Port joins SEA-LNG coalition

SEA-LNG said move will further enhance its LNG supply infrastructure expertise and global reach, while giving GLBP access to the latest LNG pathway research and networking opportunities.

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Galveston LNG Bunker Port joins SEA-LNG coalition

Galveston LNG Bunker Port (GLBP), a joint-venture between Seapath Group, one of the maritime subsidiaries of the Libra Group, and Pilot LNG, LLC (Pilot), a Houston-based clean energy solutions company, has joined SEA-LNG, according to the latter on Wednesday (21 February). 

SEA-LNG said the move will further enhance its LNG supply infrastructure expertise and global reach, while giving GLBP access to the latest LNG pathway research and networking opportunities.

GLBP was announced in September 2023 and will develop, construct and operate the US Gulf Coast’s first dedicated facility supporting the fuelling of LNG-powered vessels, expected to be operational late-2026.

The shore-based LNG liquefaction facility will be located on Shoal Point in Texas City, part of the greater Houston-Galveston port complex, one of the busiest ports in the USA. This is a strategic location for cruise ship LNG bunkering in US waters, as well as for international ship-to-ship bunkering and cool-down services. GLBP will offer cost-effective turn-key LNG supply solutions to meet growing demand for the cleaner fuel in the USA and Gulf of Mexico.

Jonathan Cook, Pilot CEO, said: “With an initial investment of approximately $180 million, our LNG bunkering facility will supply a vital global and U.S. trade corridor with cleaner marine fuel. We recognise that SEA-LNG is a leading partner and a key piece of the LNG bunkering sector, and will give us access to insights and expertise across the entire LNG supply chain.

“LNG supports environmental goals and human health by offering ship operators immediate reductions in CO2 emissions and virtually eliminating harmful local emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter.”

President of Seapath, Joshua Lubarsky, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting the decarbonization of the maritime industry through strategic, and much needed, investments into the supply of alternative fuels.  We are also happy to be a part of SEA-LNG which has done a wonderful job in advocating for advancements in technology in this vital sector.”

Chairman of SEA-LNG Peter Keller, said: “We’re proud to welcome another leading LNG supplier to the coalition and are looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship. With every investment in supply infrastructure in the US and worldwide, the LNG pathway’s head start increases. Global availability, alongside bio-LNG and e-LNG development, makes LNG the practical and realistic route to maritime decarbonisation.

“All alternative fuels exist on a pathway from grey, fossil-based fuels to green, bio or renewable fuels. Green fuels represent a scarce resource and many have scalability issues, so we must start our net-zero journey today with grey fuels. LNG is the only grey fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, well-to-wake, so you need less green fuel than alternatives to improve emissions performance.”

 

Photo credit: SEA-LNG
Published: 23 February, 2024

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Biofuel

VARO and Orim Energy to supply bio bunker fuels in ARA region

VARO will source, produce and blend various waste and advanced bio feedstocks to high quality bunker fuel specs; Orim will source fuel and gas oils for blending and deliver final biofuel blends to vessels.

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VARO and Orim Energy to supply bio bunker fuels in ARA region

VARO Energy (VARO) on Wednesday (21 February) said it is partnering with Orim Energy (Orim) to provide shipping customers in the Port of Rotterdam – and wider Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region - with biofuels. 

The agreement supports the decarbonisation of maritime transportation and inland shipping in Northern Europe. It also contributes to the wider targets set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reduce the total annual GHG emissions from shipping by at least 20% by 2030 and at least 70% by 2050, compared with 2008 levels.

Current demand for Fuel Oil in ARA , Europe’s largest bunkering hub, is approximately 14 million tonnes per year. Supported by new EU regulations, the market for B30, a blend of 70% Fuel Oil and 30% biofuels, is expected to grow rapidly to the end of the decade. As a result of this joint initiative, VARO and Orim will be well positioned to meet this increased demand and support the decarbonisation plans of their shipping customers.

VARO’s biofuels trading capabilities and growing biofuel manufacturing asset base will complement Orim’s extensive distribution, storage and bunkering capabilities in ARA. Under the agreement, VARO will source, produce and blend various waste and advanced bio feedstocks to high quality bunker specifications. Orim will source the fuel and gas oils for blending and deliver the final biofuel blends to customers’ vessels.

VARO has a long track record of providing biofuels for maritime logistics. Since 2018, the company has supplied the Port of Rotterdam with HVO100 (100% Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil “HVO”) for use with the Port’s service fleet. In 2023 VARO signed an agreement with Höegh Autoliners to supply the company with 100% advanced biofuels for its shipping fleet.

The partnership is aligned with VARO’s strategy to become the partner of choice for customers in the energy transition by providing them with the low-carbon energy solutions they need to decarbonise.

Dev Sanyal, CEO of VARO, said: “Meeting rising demand for blended biofuels is critical to achieving the EU and IMO’s decarbonisation targets for shipping. Our experience in biofuels, combined with Orim’s logistics and bunkering operations, will help meet this demand at Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port facility. I am delighted to be entering into a strategic partnership with Orim and to further build on VARO’s long-established presence in Rotterdam. This is another step in our journey to enable the decarbonisation of the maritime sector.

Edwin Coppens, Managing Director of Orim, said: “Upcoming EU and IMO regulations drive the need to scale up with biofuels and ensure quality assurance going forward. Partnering with VARO allows us to do just that, using each other’s strengths to optimize our blending expertise and network. We will benefit from VARO’s extensive experience with biofuels, which includes joint testing with leading ship engine suppliers. Together, we can increase our sourcing and supply capabilities, extending our reach and further strengthening our position in the ARA region.”

 

Photo credit: VARO Energy
Published: 23 February, 2024

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