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GARD: The EU Emission Trading System – are you ready?

Since the EU ETS has been agreed, vessel owners and charterers that may trade within the EU should ensure they are prepared to comply with its requirements in 2024.

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GARD The EU Emission Trading System

Maritime protection and indemnity (P&I) club Gard on Wednesday (7 December) published an article discussing on the EU Emission Trading Scheme. The following is an excerpt of the article:

There has been increasing interest in expanding existing domestic emission trading schemes to also cover international shipping. There is now agreement in the EU on how the EU’s emission trading system will be applied to shipping from 2024. Owners and charterers should start to think about how they are going to deal with its requirements.

On a nation state level, governments can impose taxes on the sources of pollution at the point of production or sale. An example is petrol, with the aim that the taxes generated will cover the cost of dealing with the resulting pollution and incentivise reduced consumption. The difficulty in international shipping is that if just a few governments took this approach for bunker fuel, the buyers would likely adjust their arrangements so that they avoided bunkering at the taxed ports. Therefore, for a sales tax on bunker fuel to be effective, governments of all the major bunkering ports around the world would need to coordinate and agree to tax bunker fuel in the same way. With such cooperation looking very unlikely in the near term, and IMO discussion of a carbon tax still in its early stages, governments are now looking at imposing costs on emissions, rather than on fuel at the point of sale.

An emission trading scheme (ETS) is a tool that governments and regulators are expected to use increasingly often in the fight to reduce the pollution created by international shipping. The central idea behind an ETS is to have a market mechanism to ensure that “the polluter pays” – the payment being for the environmental and social cost of pollution, its clean-up cost and potentially also research into technology that will reduce or remove it. Of course, increasing the cost of pollution also creates an incentive to generate less of it.

For this reason, there has been growing interest in expanding existing emission trading schemes to include international shipping, including in the EU, China and Japan. The basic idea of an ETS is that a capped number of emission permits are bought and sold on the market, with emitters having to purchase and surrender enough allowances to cover their emissions. The price of the allowances will change over time to reflect the balance of supply and demand, and emitters then are incentivised to find the cheapest (ie. most efficient) ways to reduce emissions.

The EU Emission Trading Scheme 

Launched in 2005, the EU’s Emission Trading System works as a “cap and trade” scheme where emitters of CO2 in certain sectors have to purchase allowances to cover their carbon emissions during the relevant trading period. The number of allowances at any one time are fixed, but they generally reduce each year, so that emissions within the EU also fall.

How the scheme will be applied to shipping has beenunder discussion for some time, but there now seems to be agreement between the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission thatthe key features will be:

  • Application to all vessels over 5,000 GT trading within EU waters, irrespective of flag
  • Start date of 1 January 2024 (pushed back from 1 January 2023)
  • A phased-in implementation, with 40% of emissions covered by the system during 2024, 70% for 2025 and 100% for 2026.
  • All intra-EU voyage emissions to be covered by the scheme
  • 50% of EU in-bound/out-bound voyage emissions will be covered
  • The ‘shipping company’ (defined as owner, manager or bareboat charterer) will be responsible for surrendering the allowances
  • The system will cover carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide
  • 30 April deadline for surrender of allowances for the previous calendar year -for example, 30 April 2025 deadline for 2024 emissions
  • Non-compliance can lead to penalties and expulsion orders

Several parts of the scheme are still unclear, and questions have been raised about two particular areas relating to shipping. First, in the Special Rapporteur’s report of 24 January 2022, it says that where a ship is on charter and the owner is not responsible for purchasing fuel or making decisions about the vessel’s speed, cargo or route, then:

“… a binding clause should be included in such arrangements for the purpose of passing on the costs so that the entity that is ultimately responsible for the decisions affecting the CO2 emissions of the ship is held accountable for covering the compliance costs paid by the shipping company under this Directive.”

Whilst many vessel owners would support the motivation behind this provision, it is far from clear how EU law would impose such a clause in private contractual arrangements between parties that may not be based in EU states. What happens if the charterparty contains no such clause? Could the owners rely on EU law to seek recovery from the charterers in the EU even if there was no such clause in the charterparty? Might it result in some voyage-charterers being forced to pay for EU ETS allowances even though they did not supply the fuel?

A second area of discussion is how emissions on voyages into or out of the EU are to be determined, and if operators may seek to evade the full application of the EU ETS. For example, if a vessel calls at an intermediate port just outside of the EU shortly after leaving EU waters, that may result in the out-bound voyage being assessed as much shorter than one from/to the actual next load port. The change of routing may cause the operator extra costs, but the benefit of the avoided allowances could be greater, depending on the assumptions made. We would expect this issue to be covered by the scheme once implemented, but at the moment it is an area that needs more thought.

Note: The complete article of ‘The EU Emission Trading System - are you ready?’ by Gard can be found here

 

Photo credit: Gard
Published: 8 December, 2022

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Biofuel

SMW 2024: Ken Energy and Green COP partner to advance bio bunker fuels in Singapore

Through partnership between its two members, CSA said SGD 10 million will be invested into development and production of biofuel blends and aims to launch commercial-scale production by 2026.

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SMW 2024: Ken Energy and Green COP partner to advance bio bunker fuels in Singapore

The Coastal Sustainability Alliance (CSA), an industry collaborative effort led by Kuok Maritime Group (KMG), on Tuesday 916 April) announced its plans to advance the maritime biofuel ecosystem in Singapore with up to SGD 10 million (USD 7.33 million) in investments. 

The partnership will be spearheaded by two of its Alliance members – Green COP and Ken Energy – which formalised a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today at the Tech Stage (EXPO @SMW) at Singapore Maritime Week 2024.

Over the next two years, the CSA aims to develop stable B30, B40 and B50 biofuel blends and achieve production and commercial adoption of up to 50% (B50), derived from 50% agri-waste to Biobutanol – a blend poised to significantly reduce carbon emissions in maritime operations.

This process includes biofuel certification, commencing sea trials, building a production plant by 2025, and launching commercial-scale production by 2026. An initial SGD 500,000 angel investment has been secured for establishing a pilot plant for processing agri-waste, and over SGD 10 million is expected to be invested in scaling production capabilities.

These efforts in decarbonising the maritime sector will contribute to the CSA’s efforts to build the next generation of Singapore’s coastal ecosystem and are timely to address the potential surge in demand for sustainable biofuels.

Mr Tan Thai Yong, Managing Director, Strategic Projects and Technology, Kuok Maritime Group and Chairperson, CSA Council, said: “The formation of biofuel ecosystem under the Coastal Sustainability Alliance demonstrates our commitment to foster partnerships and deliver innovative sustainable maritime solutions for our conventional fleet owners as they progressively switch to lower emissions vessels.

“In bringing together Green COP and Ken Energy, we are laying the groundwork for a new biofuel supply chain and providing a viable alternative in the energy transition for the maritime sector. This initiative is more than an advancement in fuel technology as it exemplifies the power of collaboration, underscoring the CSA’s role as a steward and catalyst for positive change in the maritime industry.”

The CSA is actively driving maritime biofuel development to provide a viable biofuel alternative for vessels to reduce carbon emissions. The ecosystem will secure a ready supply of biofuel for local coastal demand and ensure the quality and stability of the biofuels with supply chain track and trace. This initiative also seeks to bolster Singapore’s standing in the Global Biofuels Alliance over the long term by building new R&D and innovation tracks in line with the nation’s environmental commitments.

Through this partnership, Ken Energy will play a pivotal role in strengthening the market and commercial utilisation of Biobutanol in maritime operations. This comprises vital aspects such as operational feasibility, life cycle assessment, and carbon emission reduction strategies. Ken Energy’s expertise and resources will be instrumental in optimising the practical implementation of Biobutanol for a B30-B50 blend and subsequent market integration in providing B50 to its customer fleet of bunker barges and CSA members.

Desmond Chong, Managing Director of Ken Energy, said: “We believe in the green transition that the maritime industry is embarking on. This conviction underscores our strategic collaboration with Green COP. Leveraging our proficiency in marine transportation logistics alongside Green COP's commendable sustainable biofuel production, we aim to spur the industry's widespread adoption of biofuels."

Green COP, with its proprietary technology, specialises in the efficient conversion of plant-based biowaste into sustainable biofuels through a patented pre-treatment and fermentation process. This innovative, cost-effective approach maximises resource utilisation and minimises waste generation, contributing to the circular economy and environmental sustainability.

Dr Hanson Lee, CEO of Green COP, said, “Green COP presents existing fleet owners with a coherent biofuel solution to achieve their net-zero targets in a progressive manner. We envision a future where Sustainable Marine Fuels (SMF), alongside coastal electrification, become the norm. The CSA has provided us access to market insights, industry collaborations and the necessary incubation for our growth. We look forward to working with more like-minded partners to spur biofuels research and adoption.”

Earlier in March 2024, Green COP signed an MOU agreement with 3Y Energy to develop and optimise green biofuel blends for the maritime and transportation sectors. Through this collaboration, Green COP will set up a pilot plant capable of processing a ton of biomass daily to produce sustainable fuels, while 3Y Energy will provide the innovative solutions in green fuel utilisation including biofuel blends. 

Introducing the B50 blend represents a significant advancement in reducing carbon emissions within the maritime industry. For every metric ton (mt) of B50 fuel burned, carbon emissions are reduced to 1.5 mt, a substantial improvement over the B30 blend, which reduces CO2 emissions to 2.1 mt per metric ton of fuel burned. Additionally, the production of Biobutanol, a key component of the B50 blend, is more energy-efficient and yields a higher volume of fuel compared to traditional methods used for producing Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME). This enhances the sustainability of the fuel production process and supports the maritime sector’s transition to greener energy sources.

The CSA will continue to broaden the scope of the pioneering biofuel ecosystem and seek additional collaborations from stakeholders across the maritime and energy sectors to enhance technological, adoption and logistical capabilities.

This development follows closely on the heels of the Coastal Sustainability Alliance PXO Electric Fleet Signing and MoU Ceremony, held on 12 April.

Related: Alliance commences building of electric tug and supply boat for Singapore waters
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister
Related: SMW 2024: MPA partners with S&P Global and Bunkerchain in digital ship identity
Related: SMW2024: 18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects

 

Photo credit: Coastal Sustainability Alliance
Published: 17 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

SMW 2024: Pacific Environment, Ulsan Port Authority to accelerate zero-emission shipping and ports

Both signed a MoU to develop zero-emission shipping and ports in South Korea, within Asia, across transpacific and global corridors including possibility of supporting Korea Ports to transition to green bunker fuels.

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SMW 2024: Pacific Environment, Ulsan Port Authority mulls transition to green bunker fuels in South Korea

Pacific Environment on Tuesday (16 April) said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ulsan Port Authority outlining a vision of multi-year collaboration to accelerate zero-emission shipping and ports in the Republic of Korea, within Asia, across transpacific and global corridors. 

The MOU Signing Ceremony occurred during a joint reception co-hosted by Pacific Environment and Ulsan Port Authority with more than 50 participants during the Singapore Maritime Week 2024.

The MOU includes areas of possible cooperation: 

  • Supporting the Republic of Korea to decarbonise both its domestic shipping and harbour craft industry to align all Republic of Korea ports with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 1.5 degree Celsius trajectory
  • Support the Uslan Port to design and implement green shipping corridors across Asia, the transpacific and global corridors
  • Support the Ulsan Port and Republic of Korea Ports to transition to green fuels and provide electric power and zero-emission lifecycle fuels to help marine vessels meet zero-emissions prior to 2050 
  • Provide the Ulsan Port with an action plan to achieve the International Maritime Organization’s 2023 Greenhouse Gas Strategy 
  • Support the Ulsan Port to address additional marine and climate policy issues, such as ending ocean plastic pollution, fossil fuel shipping pollution, among others
  • Support improvement of the Ulsan Port and Republic of Korea Port’s system to prompt the use of green fuels, develop workforce safety standards and train workers.

This is the second MOU that Pacific Environment has signed with Republic of Korea maritime leaders. Last May 2023, Pacific Environment and Korean Maritime Institute signed a multiyear MOU to accelerate zero-emission shipping and ports. 

Soonyo Jeong, Vice President, Ulsan Port Authority, said: “We are excited about our partnership with Pacific Environment and look forward to the support the organisation can provide on-the-ground to move our port and our country to a zero-emission future.”

“As the largest bunkering port in the Republic of Korea, we hope to do our part to address climate change and move shipping to a 1.5 degree Celsius future.”

Shannon Wright, Executive Director, Pacific Environment, said: “Pacific Environment is proud to partner with the Port of Ulsan. Today’s signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between the Port of Ulsan and Pacific Environment is an exciting start to a multiyear partnership. 

“Ulsan Port has been designated as the only green ship fuel supply port in the Republic of Korea, and aims to become an green energy logistics hub.”

“We look forward to supporting the port with strategic policy and planning assistance to support the efforts towards zero-emission shipping and ports.”

Related: SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister
Related: SMW 2024: MPA partners with S&P Global and Bunkerchain in digital ship identity
Related: SMW2024: 18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects

 

Photo credit: Pacific Environment
Published: 17 April 2024

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MoU

SMW 2024: Seatrium, A*STAR to explore new energies and AI for offshore and marine uses

Both organisations will focus on establishing a sustainable ammonia supply chain and addressing bunkering, transportation, and storage challenges, amongst others.

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SMW 2024: Seatrium, A*STAR to explore new energies and AI for offshore and marine uses

Singapore-headquartered marine engineering firm Seatrium and Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) on Tuesday (16 April) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore research opportunities in new energies and artificial intelligence (AI) to develop innovative products and engineering solutions for the Offshore and Marine (O&M) Sector. 

The MoU signing took place during the Singapore Maritime Week and was witnessed by the event’s Guest of Honour, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.

The collaboration combines Seatrium’s insights into trends and opportunities within the O&M sector with the research capabilities of A*STAR and its National Platforms such as the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS). The parties aim to boost the O&M sector’s pivot to new energies efficiently and reliably, and support the global transition to a low-carbon economy. Through machine learning, manufacturing process technologies and digital solutions, the collaboration will also streamline product development and manufacturing processes, and promote innovation and sustainability in Seatrium’s operations.

The focus areas of the MoU include the co-development of:

New Energies

This includes the exploration of new energies such as hydrogen and ammonia solutions, specifically tailored for offshore and marine applications. A*STAR and Seatrium were part of Singapore’s first ammonia fuel trial on the Fortescue Green Pioneer. 

A*STAR contributed to the development of an ammonia plume model for safety and environmental impact assessment, while Seatrium was responsible for the installation of the vessel’s fuel system and safety features.

Both organisations will now focus on establishing a sustainable ammonia supply chain and addressing bunkering, transportation, and storage challenges. Coupled with carbon capture technologies, Seatrium's suite of product solutions aims to provide sustainable energy solutions for the offshore and marine sector.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The partnership leverages AI to explore innovative solutions in engineering processes, operational efficiency, and decision-making across project lifecycles. 

This includes the planned development of Large Language Models (LLMs) to improve vessel design and validation turnaround by automating and streamlining parts of the process. AI will be used to automate work site inspection and surveillance for improved operational efficiency.

Since 2008, Seatrium’s predecessor entities and A*STAR have worked on research projects such as green shipping, digital design, automation, Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced manufacturing. 

The outcomes have culminated in the development of new capabilities, including co-designing the world’s first made-in-Singapore Low Ultraviolet (LUV) Ballast Water Treatment System. 

This eco-friendly system employs energy-efficient ultra-violet rays and proprietary ultra-low frequency bio-fouling control for chemical-free treatment of ballast water.

Mr Chris Ong, CEO of Seatrium, said: “The collaborative efforts between Seatrium and A*STAR are geared towards accelerating the energy transition and maritime decarbonisation.”

“By combining our knowledge and pushing boundaries, we aim to develop advanced energy solutions that will help the industry adopt renewable sources more quickly.”

“Through innovation, research, and sustainable practices, we are focused on minimising carbon emissions, improving operational efficiency, and promoting cleaner energy.”

“We are committed to making a positive impact and playing a vital role in Singapore's sustainable O&M sector with the support of our partners, stakeholders, and customers.”

Mr Frederick Chew, CEO of A*STAR, said: “Building on our previous successful collaboration programmes in green shipping, digital design and advanced manufacturing, this latest collaboration in new energies and AI furthers Seatrium and A*STAR’s shared vision of developing more smart and sustainable solutions for the O&M sector.”

“I look forward to programme outcomes that will contribute substantively to Seatrium’s and Singapore’s economic and sustainability goals.”

Related: Fortescue successfully conducts world’s first ammonia bunker fuel trial in Singapore
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister
Related: SMW 2024: MPA partners with S&P Global and Bunkerchain in digital ship identity
Related: SMW2024: 18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects

 

Photo credit: Seatrium and A*STAR
Published: 17 April 2024

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