Because it runs on diesel, the maritime sector is difficult to electrify and hard to decarbonize, as reported by Forbes.
But, the world’s largest shipping company Maersk is attempting to ride a new wave and has placed orders for many ocean-going ships that use cleaner fuels in order to meet its net-zero targets by 2040.
90% of the world’s cargo is transported on 50,000 ships, making shipping a key component of the global economy. Nonetheless, the industry is a significant polluter, demanding creative ways to reduce emission levels, particularly given that maritime commerce deliveries are expected to triple by 2050. The moment to invest in ports and alternative energy is now. The industry does want to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Can it accomplish these aims?
Challenge for all
“The most progressive technologies use advanced duel-fuel engines,” says Allyson Browne, climate campaign manager for Pacific Environment, in an interview with this writer. “The engines must run on something other than heavy fuels or liquefied natural gas — like green ammonia or green methanol, which are stepping stones until green hydrogen is scaled up.”
She cites A.P. Mller, also known as Maersk, as evidence that the shipping industry contributes 13% of all worldwide transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, or around 1,000 million tonnes of CO2 annually. At least 13 new ocean-going ships that Maersk has ordered will be delivered between 2023 and 2025 utilising entirely carbon-neutral fuels. It aims to run the ships on biofuels or carbon-neutral e-methanol. Yet, it will be difficult because methanol output must increase.
Maersk claims that its CO2 levels will decrease by 1 million tonnes or 3% once its new carbon-friendly vessels take to the high seas, a significant decrease from its present CO2 levels of 33 million tonnes. It makes investments in biodiesel, green ammonia, and green methanol, all of which are produced from sustainable biomass and emit no greenhouse gases.
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