Decarbonizing Shipping, Starting With Shipowners

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Diane Gilpin, CEO and founder of Smart Green Shipping, advocates for a shift towards green technology to decarbonize the shipping industry, emphasizing the crucial role of shipowners in driving this transformation, says an article published on ship technology website.

Summary

  • Diane Gilpin, CEO and founder of Smart Green Shipping, advocates for green technology adoption to decarbonize the shipping industry, emphasizing the crucial role of shipowners.
  • Successful decarbonization efforts must address shipowners’ practical challenges, requiring close collaboration between shipowners and manufacturers.
  • While alternative fuels like hydrogen and ammonia are promoted as solutions, retrofitting engines is costly and time-consuming, with estimates suggesting a process duration of 12-14 months and costs ranging from $5 million to $15 million per ship.
  • Alternative fuels also require larger storage tanks, reducing cargo capacity and potentially lowering revenues, adding to shipowners’ reluctance to commit to these technologies.

Understanding Shipowners’ Challenges

Gilpin argues that successful decarbonization efforts must address the practical challenges faced by shipowners. While there is significant focus on cutting-edge technologies, mass adoption depends on solutions that align with shipowners’ operational needs. Achieving this requires close collaboration between shipowners and manufacturers, yet this collaboration is often lacking in practice.

Challenges Of Alternative Fuels

While alternative fuels like hydrogen and ammonia are often touted as silver bullet solutions, Gilpin highlights the complexities involved. Retrofitting engines for alternative fuels is costly and time-consuming, with estimates suggesting a process duration of 12-14 months and costs ranging from $5 million to $15 million per ship. Additionally, alternative fuels require larger storage tanks, reducing cargo capacity and potentially lowering revenues.

Uncertainty And Industry Reluctance

The uncertainty surrounding future fuel options further complicates the situation. Designing ships for alternative fuels involves significant investment and risks, particularly when there is uncertainty about fuel availability, pricing, and long-term adoption trends. Given the high costs and potential disruptions to commercial operations, shipowners are understandably hesitant to commit to alternative fuel technologies.

Navigating Uncertainty

Gilpin highlights the need for greater certainty and clarity regarding future fuel options to facilitate informed decision-making within the industry. Without clear signals about which fuels will dominate the market in the coming decades, shipowners face significant challenges in planning for the future.

Conclusion

In order to drive meaningful progress towards greener shipping, Gilpin stresses the importance of addressing shipowners’ practical concerns and fostering collaboration between industry stakeholders. By understanding and addressing the challenges faced by shipowners, the shipping industry can move towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.

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Source: ship technology