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South Korea: Ministries unveil initiative to advance green tech for shipping & marine fuel

24 Dec 2020

The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries on Wednesday (23 December) said it has collaborated with the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy to jointly develop the “2030 Green Ship-K Initiative” which was unveiled at the 7th Ministerial Meeting on the Korean New Deal held on Wednesday morning.

The initiative is in response to upcoming environmental regulations set by the IMO, the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), and the general paradigm shift in the global maritime industry towards more environmentally friendly ships.

The “2030 Green Ship-K Initiative” is part of the Korean government implemented Act on Promotion of the Development and Distribution of Eco-friendly Ships which is set every 10 years but reviewed every 5 years.

The initiative aims to align policies with the Green New Deal and  establish a brand image for Korean ships as eco-friendly.

The main components of the “2030 Green Ship-K Initiative” are as follows:

Development of leading technology for future eco-friendly ships with a focus on developing maritime technology to reduce greenhouse gas by 70%

  • In order to secure world-leading technology for future eco-friendly ships, the initiative includes the localisation and advancement of liquified natural gas (LNG), electricity, hybrid core equipment technology and low-carbon ship technology with mixed fuel.
  • The long run goal is to develop carbon-free maritime fuel technology such as hydrogen and ammonia.
  • The initiative aims to reduce 40% of GHG in25 years and 70% reduction in 30 years.
  • To this end, the government announced it plans to support the Eco-friendly technology development project with an estimated KRW 960 billion (USD 869 million). A preliminary feasibility review for this plan has been scheduled.

Korean maritime technology demonstration

  • Following the development of eco-friendly technology for ships, tests will be conducted to verify the economic feasibility before launching them on a commercial scale.
  • The initiative includes the construction of more than 10 demonstration ships demonstrating eco-friendly technology such as LNG bunkering ships and LNG-ammonia mixed fuel propulsion ships.
  • This portion of the plan is expected to contribute to the vitalisation of the local economy where the shipbuilding and shipping industries are concentrated: Busan (KRW 1.5 trillion), Jeonnam (KRW 1.2 trillion / USD 1.4 billion), Ulsan (KRW 1 trillion/USD 906 million), Gyeongnam (KRW 0.4 trillion/USD 362 million), where the shipbuilding and shipping industries are concentrate.

Promote the retrofit of existing ships to become eco-friendly, achievinga conversion rate of 15%

  • Priority will be given to commercially viable technologies such as LNG and hybrid retrofits, tentatively beginning with ships from the public sector followed by the private sector.

Establishment of bunker fuel supply infrastructure and operation systems

  • The infrastructure for supplying ‘green’ fuels such as LNG and electric power will be gradually expanded (700,000 tons in by 2025 → 1.4 million tons by 2030)
  • To this end, the ministry will diversify the means of supplying LNG bunker fuel, such as operating LNG bunkering vessels and building onshore terminals.
  • In addition, in order to create a market-led ecosystem for eco-friendly ships, the national classification system for eco-friendly ships will provide additional points when selecting a ‘green’ business operator.
  • A support center will be established for analysing and verifying greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions based on actual eco-friendly ship operation information. The center will be able to facilitate remote diagnosis and predictive maintenance of ships for advanced data-driven management and safe operations.

Before 2030, the reduction in emissions is not expected to be significant as much preparations will be needed, but it is expected that the effects of the technological developments will impact the industry in a meaningful way from 2030 onwards, said the Ministry. 

“The transition to eco-friendly ships is an inevitable obligation under international norms, and as a new challenge in the shipping and shipbuilding sectors, it will serve as an opportunity to advance the industrial ecosystem to the next level,” said the South Korean Government. 

 “With a smooth implementation of this initiative, we will actively support the shipping, shipbuilding, and maritime equipment industries to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 and create a sustainable ecosystem while developing into a new growth engine that leads to a new era.” 

Related: Naming ceremony held for South Korea’s first LNG-powered bulk carriers
Related: Korea: Construction of first bunkering ship for LNG-fuelled coastal vessels begins
Related: Korea govt planning fuel conversion of 140 state-owned ships by 2030
Related: South Korea to launch $250 million LNG conversion pilot project

Photo credit: South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries
Published: 24 December 2020


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