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Maersk demands industry develop zero-emission fuels to decarbonise

DANISH shipping giant Maersk is urging the energy industry to urgently focus on developing and producing zero-emission fuels, to pave the way for new vessels to be designed and constructed to use such fuels in one decade's time

Maersk demands industry develop zero-emission fuels to decarbonise

DANISH shipping giant Maersk is urging the energy industry to urgently focus on developing and producing zero-emission fuels, to pave the way for new vessels to be designed and constructed to use such fuels in one decade's time

31 October 2019 - 19:00

DANISH shipping giant Maersk is urging the energy industry to urgently focus on developing and producing zero-emission fuels, to pave the way for new vessels to be designed and constructed to use such fuels in one decade's time.

'We know that we need new fuels because we can see that even with 60 per cent efficiency gains by 2030, shipping's absolute emissions will still be flat and will not go down,' Maersk chief adviser for climate change John Kornerup told UK's Lloyd's List.



'The decarbonisation of shipping will require a change in fuels and we only have 11 years in which to do that if we are going to have ships operating by 2030.'



Maersk wants to all shipping to be decarbonised by 2050, which would require the first non-fossil fuelled vessels to be developed by 2030.



'That is not long, especially in a situation where you do not have any of that readily available in the market,' Mr Kornerup said. 'We know what some of the options are, but we don't know which will be most feasible and commercially viable.'



In a bid to speed up development, Maersk has published a study in collaboration with Lloyd's Register that has chosen three potential fuel sources - alcohol (ethanol/methanol), biomethane and ammonia - that it wants the industry to focus on developing.



'We have looked at technology readiness, cost projections and feasibility on the energy side, and have concluded that these three are the ones that are likely to be the first generation of net-zero fuels for shipping,' Mr Kornerup said.



Maersk plans to dedicate 80 per cent of its research and development resources into developing these fuels, while the remaining 20 per cent would be invested in any 'dark horses' that may emerge.



'From the studies it is clear that ship design and engines are not the challenge here,' he said. 'New types of engine can be produced and ships can be redesigned.'



The real challenge was on the landside, according to Mr Kornerup.



'It is the energy sector, the integration of the infrastructure to build up the scale and the availability. It is important for us to come out with some communication that can fixate the focus and the resources in the energy sector ecosystem around this.'



However, this does not mean waiting for the energy sector to come up with answers.



'We are there as partners and will put in all our knowledge of shipbuilding and ship operations,' Mr Kornerup said.



'But it is clear that the bulk of the innovation, scaling and investment needs to take place on land and therefore we need to be vocal about that.'



But shipping is a small part of the global energy picture, and has been content for decades with the burning low-cost residue of the refining process. Because of that, there has been little investment or interest from energy firms in developing new fuels.



'We need to clearly communicate as an industry customer that the demand is there. We don't see any other way than getting many actors together to lift this together,' Mr Kornerup said.



Maersk is also calling for assistance from policy makers, which it believes will be key to both pushing for changes to fuel sources and possibly helping to pay for new fuels.


WORLD SHIPPING

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