Green Hydrogen And Renewables: A Crucial Equation For Decarbonizing Global Shipping


  • Hydrogen emerges as a key player in the endeavor to decarbonize shipping, with orders for vessels capable of running on H2 derivatives like ammonia and methanol on the rise.
  • The International Energy Agency outlines that by 2050, shipping needs 233 million tonnes of clean ammonia, 13 million tonnes of methanol, and 15 million tonnes of hydrogen as a direct fuel.
  • To achieve a 10% share of green fuels in the maritime sector by 2030, around 70 million tonnes of ammonia or methanol, requiring 12.6 million to 14 million tonnes of hydrogen, will be necessary.

Fueling the Future: Gigawatts Needed for Hydrogen Production

As the maritime sector steers toward green hydrogenbased fuels, the magnitude of the task becomes evident. To achieve a 10% share of green fuels in shipping by 2030, the International Energy Agency estimates an additional 600TWh of renewable electricity is required to power hydrogen production. This, combined with the 1,500TWh needed for efuels in aviation, represents a substantial 23% of the clean electricity capacity predicted to be installed between 2022 and 2030. Maritime certification agency DNV suggests a demand of 17 million tonnes oilequivalent for carbonneutral fuels by 2030, requiring around 230GW of installed wind and solar capacity.

Challenges and Optimism: Addressing Bottlenecks in the Energy Transition

While the need for renewables is clear, challenges arise in rapidly creating enabling frameworks for renewable electricity capacity and sourcing materials for efuels. The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) remains optimistic, anticipating that 1,200GW of renewable energy capacity for electrolysers by 2050 would necessitate 46GW of new wind and solar annually. However, the timely mobilization of finance, diversified supply chains, and infrastructure development pose ongoing challenges. Analysts agree that the installation of hundreds of gigawatts of electrolysers is imperative, with the IEA estimating 130GW to 150GW required for ammonia and methanol production.

Regulatory Targets and Industry Dynamics: Navigating the Transition

As the industry grapples with the colossal task of decarbonizing shipping, regulatory targets come into play. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) sets a netzero emissions target close to 2050, with a 40% reduction in carbon intensity by 2030. The European Union’s FuelEU package introduces legally binding emission reduction targets for ships operating in European waters. Vessels are incentivized to use hydrogen or its derivatives, known as renewable fuels of nonbiological origin (RFNBOs). The EU provides doublecounting incentives for emissions savings from these fuels between 2025 and 2033. Navigating this transition requires aligning regulatory frameworks, industry dynamics, and sustainable energy solutions.

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Source: Hydrogen Insight