IRENA: Shipping Industry Must Cut Emissions

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

October 31, 2019

Pic: International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Pic: International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) highlighted the importance of reducing shipping emissions and following the path towards a carbon-zero industry, in line with International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s sustainability targets.

IRENA said that immediate action is required if the global shipping industry is to meet a target of halving its carbon emissions by the middle of the century.

With heavy fuel oil covering 82 per cent of the sector’s energy needs, decarbonizing global shipping will play a critical role in achieving climate objectives, a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) finds.

The report, 'Navigating a way to a renewable future' explores the impact of maritime shipping on CO2 emissions, the structure of shipping and key areas that need to be addressed to reduce the sector’s carbon footprint.

Speaking at the launch of the report from the Global Maritime Forum’s Annual Summit in Singapore, IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera said it’s clear that the industry has recognized the urgent need to address its decarbonization options. “Decarbonising transport is critical to a sustainable future. Shipping is a major contributor to transport emissions and it is encouraging that the industry has shown a clear willingness to engage the energy sector to exchange ideas on low-carbon pathways.  

“As the cost of renewable falls, the decarbonization options available become increasingly competitive,” he continued. “By 2030 alternative low-carbon fuels could reach parity with heavy fuel oil, so it is vitally important that the ship industry prepares itself for a low-carbon future."

Cutting carbon emission levels in 2008 by half in 2050, in line with IMO goals, requires a combination of clean energy options and alternative fuels based on renewable, IRENA’s new report finds. This includes a shift from fossil fuels to alternatives like advanced biofuels and hydrogen-based fuels, upgrading onshore infrastructure and practices during docking, electrification and reducing fuel demand by improving operational performance.

Ready-to-use biofuels, such as Bio-LNG, hold tremendous potential as a transitional fuel which could gradually replace fossil fuels. Other synthetic fuels being considered as potential replacements for conventional ones include methanol, hydrogen and ammonia. These fuels can effectively decrease, and even eliminate, emissions in the shipping industry if produced from sustainable feed-stocks using renewable electricity i.e. producing hydrogen through electrolysis.

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