Lack of investment in developing green technologies is the biggest threat to achieving decarbonisation targets, as industry leaders will urge during one of the largest ever meetings of shipping executives and maritime states at COP26.
pecifically, major players representing 80% of global shipping will be meeting with ministers at the ‘Shaping the future of Shipping’ conference on 6th November in Glasgow.
According to ICS, attendees will identify ways to increase investment in R&D, and hear about a number of projects already underway to reduce the emissions from international shipping, which is currently responsible for nearly 3% of global emissions.
Industry will highlight findings from the International Energy Agency, which show that under current policy framework scenarios, low and zero-carbon fuels will make up less than 3% of shipping’s total energy consumption by 2030 and roughly one third by 2050. This would fall significantly short of industry’s 2050 net-zero carbon target.
Ahead of the conference, Esben Poulsson, chairman of ICS, commented:
The net zero carbon pathway that we have all committed to is not achievable without a rapid and unified increase in R&D spending. We know what needs to be done but we need a global solution for a global industry to ensure that developing economies are not left behind.
What is more, CEOs attending the event will showcase initiatives already underway to reduce reliance on carbon-heavy fuels, but will flag concerns about a lack of scalability given the piecemeal nature of the developments.
To inform the discussion the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) along with the environmental consultancy Ricardo, has published “A zero emissions blueprint for shipping” identifying 265 example projects that could kickstart the acceleration of innovation to decarbonise the maritime sector.
In fact the report outlines the urgent steps that will be required to completely transform shipping’s current dominant propulsion technology and fuels landscape in less than three decades.
As explained, there are highlevel challenges as the majority of vessels in operation will need to be zero carbon by 2050. Furthermore, fundamental vessel reconfigurations may be required, limiting future retrofit opportunities.
The report has identified 120 high-level challenges related to operation, safety, scope of current and future greenhouse gas emissions and several other aspects for each of the technologies covered.
To meet emissions targets, thousands of zerocarbon vessels will need to be operating in the water by 2030 and most vessels will need to be zero-carbon by 2050. Yet, more than 60% of the emissions reductions required in 2050 will come from technologies that are not commercially available today. The latter represents a major transformation for the industry.
Key findings towards shipping’s decarbonization
- To accelerate the shift to zero-carbon fuels, multiple nascent technologies need to be developed to reach large scale deployment. Shifting to alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia, biofuels and electrification from renewable sources could cut 80% of emissions from maritime transport.
- The current pipeline of solutions and projects while welcome are not enough to deliver the paradigm shift in the technologies needed and at the scale required to decarbonise shipping.
- $5 billion is needed to advance alternative technologies towards pre-commercial deployment stage.
- There is a larger number of projects for hydrogen and ammonia, than generic and electric.
- R&D of alternative powertrains and fuels is urgently needed to reduce costs and improve performance, as well as measures to develop the associated infrastructure.