During the 2022 GREEN4SEA Virtual Forum, experts of Session 8 focused on the alternative fuels options that are currently available, highlighting that hydrogen has a great potential, but more work needs to be done for its safety and technical usability as there is need to invest in technology and its transition to acquire know-how.
s discussed, there is currently a great number of fuels in the discussion. LNG is not the only fuel available: there is also hydrogen, shore power, wind power, nuclear options, methanol, synthetic fuels, hydrogen etc. Most of them are very promising alternatives. Additionally, new technologies have come into the spotlight, such as carbon capture, and their results are quite promising. Each of these options have their pros and cons, while technology uptake remain the biggest challenge among the financial implications of any sort of strategy towards industry decarbonization.
Sharing their views on industry’s key milestones, experts agreed that collaboration among industry stakeholders and the motivation towards change have set the road forward with the alternative fuels. As Madadh MacLaine, Secretary General, Zero Emission Ship Technology Association, said ‘’Collaboration is the fuel of the future’’. In addition, Connor Furstenberg Stott, Maritime Director, Ammonia Energy Association noted that also the Approvals in Principals (AiPs) for vessel designs represent big progress. ‘’We also have the mergers of green infrastructure and low carbon. It is about the gravity that is forming around these key parts of the value chain. At the moment the biggest takeaway is that there are milestones ahead and it looks like they will be certainly reached.” he stated.
From her side, Berit Hinnemann, Head of Decarbonisation Business Development, A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S, said “For us, the key milestone is scaling the production of the green fuels. We support the collaboration across the value chain, and we believe it is critical: currently there are 6 partnerships for green methanol. Maersk has been committed to making targets way ahead of the IMO and of what the industry wants.”
However, Dr. Andreas Schmid, General Manager Technology Development, WindGD, noted that the motivation does not come from legislation, it is self-driven. Currently there is a common trend in the industry; everybody aspires to change and acquire new fuels with the aim to act in favour of the future of our planet; this is a key milestone.
According to Dr. John Kokarakis, Technical And Business Development Director, Southeast Europe, Black Sea & Adriatic Zone, Bureau Veritas, an important milestone is the EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ proposals as they make industry more conscious to become greener, introducing the life cycle assessment in the production and distribution of fuels. Lampros Nikolopoulos, Projects & Dry Docking Engineer, EURONAV, also noted that although shippers were very reluctant in the past with regards to alternative fuels, they are now more welcome to change.
As noted, there is an inevitable delay regarding the acceptance of the new alternative fuels, and it is important to redefine the European Energy Policy. Despite the absence of regulation, “we should not be relaxed”, the panellists stressed.
We need to do all we can to move things forward as quickly as possible. There is an acceleration of ideas and project, and the financing is ready to be invested. There is no reason to lighten up or to slow down. The momentum is there, let’s keep it going
…Madadh MacLaine said.
The participants agreed that it is critical to make an impact in the next decade. In that regard, policies are needed to make the whole situation fair for the early movers and make sure that these fuels are available and affordable to everyone.
Questioning about the attractive options that will prevail in the future, experts expressed different views.
The answer is green methanol
…Madah MacLaine supported.
As discussed, methanol is the easiest step-milestone towards decarbonisation. However, regulations and technology are two challenges for methanol. On the other hand, hydrogen has many potentialities as it is much further ahead in terms of technology and legislation. Many certifications’ societies and flag states are working through the alternative design, and it is already being used in rockets and submarines.
But we should not overlook the importance of the wind
…Madadh MacLaine highlighted, saying that “in the next years, we will be required to shift operating profiles, and wind will get us a long way to drastically reduce these emissions on the longer routes.”
The hydrogen will be the king of fuels in the future
…agreed Dr. John Kokarakis, noting however that there will be problems regarding the CO2 reporting. From his part, Dr. Andreas Schmid said that hydrogen is the dreaming fuel not only because it is attractive, but also because it is the intermediate step to make the other fuels.
But we need some transportation and technology to make sure that hydrogen does not use much space and that it is not very expensive
…he said adding that ammonia is also a great choice for shipping but it needs more time to be implemented.
Hydrogen fuel cells are market ready. According to studies, using hydrogen as a fuel is completely plausible and feasible. I would propose as a starting point to move forward with what we already have. The infrastructure and the investment in hydrogen is critical for the future
…Madadh MacLaine stressed.
The speakers agreed that in a fast-paced environment with all the geopolitical changes and the pandemic, it is very difficult to make projections for the future. Instead, we can develop different scenarios, methodologies and re-evaluate all the parameters. Since there are many different variables, the projections of the future can save considerable amounts of time and money.
Closing the discussion, all speakers expressed their wish lists for the future with regards to alternative fuels. Madadh MacLaine said that she would like to see hydrogen implemented in the places where it is feasible and stressed again the importance of exploring more the wind power. According to her, most of the larger ocean-going vessel types could be designed specifically for wind propulsion and many vessels could be retrofitting.
Lastly, Dr. John Kokarakis said that the hydrogen is “cheap electricity”, noting that we need it even if we have to resort to nuclear energy, besides renewable sources. He stressed that he would like to see some progress in the field of sea water electrolysis, that will enable the industry to produce hydrogen on board and utilize it at the same time; thus, overpassing the problem of hydrogen storage.
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