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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Irish Ship Fuel Initiative Gets Underway

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

March 12, 2024

Source: GDG

Source: GDG

MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, and renewable energy consultants Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions (GDG) have announced the inception of the 'ShipFuel' research project.

The initiative is set to position Ireland at the helm of maritime sustainability by developing a clear path to support the transformation of the shipping sector's reliance on traditional fuels to low-carbon alternatives.

The research is funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. The 'ShipFuel' research project will explore viable alternative fuels for decarbonization and the infrastructural adaptations required within Irish ports.

Professor Jerry D Murphy, Director of the MaREI centre, highlights the project's critical importance: "Given that 90% of all Ireland's traded goods are transported by sea, the implications for fuel consumption are immense. Our research aims to deliver a definitive roadmap, leading stakeholders toward a low-carbon, sustainable marine value chain, crucial for our economy and the planet."

The 'ShipFuel' team will engage with stakeholders across the maritime sector to ensure the transition is collaborative, inclusive, and tailored to the unique requirements of the Irish shipping industry. The research will investigate potential fuel options such as hydrogen, compressed biomethane, methanol, and renewable diesel. The project will also look into vessel technologies, including retrofitting existing fleets, aligning with the recently revised ambitions set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for net-zero emissions by 'around' 2050.

This initiative comes at a critical juncture as the lack of real action to date on emissions by the maritime sector poses a significant risk to global climate targets. With the IMO's most recent initiative, the Revised Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Strategy outlining a cautiously optimistic revision of its emissions goals, the 'ShipFuel' project's outcomes are more pertinent than ever in setting a precedent for Irish and international maritime practices.

Jonathan Bull, GDG Managing Director, said, "The maritime sector has historically navigated through politically turbulent waters regarding CO2 emissions reduction. The sector's exclusion from the Paris Climate Agreement and its significant growth projections have made it a focal point of environmental and political debate. The launch of this research represents positive progress. It's not just a response to a growing demand for cleaner shipping but may provide a proactive blueprint for the future. Sustainable maritime infrastructure that aligns with economic growth and environmental stewardship and paves the way for the industry's evolution to meet global climate targets."

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