The complete decarbonisation of the maritime shipping sector will be almost possible by 2035 when taking into account the deployment of all currently known technologies, suggests a new report published by the International Transport Forum at the OECD.
The report Decarbonising Maritime Transport: Pathways to zero carbon-shipping by 2035 considers four different decarbonisation pathways that will reduce international shipping’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions between 82% and 95% below the level currently projected for 2035.
The report explored the use of alternative fuels and renewable energy to deliver much of the required reductions through currently available biofuels complemented by other natural or synthetic fuels such as methanol, ammonia and hydrogen.
It also considered the use of technological measures such as hull design improvements, air lubrication and bulbous bows to improve the energy efficiency of ships to yield a substantial part of emission reductions.
Operational improvements such as slower ship speeds, smoother ship-port co-ordination and use of larger, more efficient ships could also bring further, important emission reductions.
In short, the report recommends the shipping industry to set a clear, ambitious emissions-reduction target to drive decarbonisation of maritime transport; support the realisation of emissions-reduction targets with a comprehensive set of policy measures; and provide smart financial incentives to advance decarbonisation of maritime shipping.
“Certainty about the desirable decarbonisation pathway for shipping will help drive change”, said Olaf Merk, ports and shipping expert at ITF.
“Clear guidance from governments is therefore essential to accelerate the transition towards zero-carbon shipping.”
The work for the report was carried out with support from the European Climate Foundation.
Published: 28 March, 2018
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