(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) The UNFCCC Paris agreement of 2015 aims for global climate-neutrality by the middle of this century. The global shipping industry has pledged to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050, meaning that the fourth propulsion revolution will be green. The transition to new fuels presents enormous opportunities as well as critical transformational challenges for all segments of the global economy.
Current geopolitical tensions are creating fuel supply uncertainty and heightening energy security concerns. This increases the pressure to accelerate the transition to green fuels, as well as establish alternative fuel hubs and routes to increase resilience. Governments, ports, developing economies, and key stakeholders that create renewable energy supply centres and production hubs will benefit greatly from early mover advantage.
The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero Emissions by 2050 scenario says to decarbonise the world, global electricity demand will increase to 60,000 TWh, up from 23,230 TWh in 2020. Shipping will not only be a consumer of (net) zero emission carbon fuels to meet decarbonisation targets, but is critical for transportation of green fuels as it is the most economical option over long distances (above 10,000km). At least half of (net) zero fuels are expected to be moved by ships, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), making maritime a key enabler of the decarbonisation of land-based industrial sectors.
However, maritime decarbonisation is highly dependent on the transition speed of energy producers, in terms of building renewable energy production facilities ashore at scale, catalysts such as global levies needed to accelerate production of fuels at scale, as well as with updated infrastructure at ports.
Governments and industry must act now to ensure that their energy transition plans account for and support the vital role that shipping will play in delivering renewable energy and hydrogen plans. Policy, funding and actions must combine to create an easy path towards the green propulsion transition. This is where development finance can play a significant role in de-risking the much needed investment required to move to a (net) zero carbon fuel future.
This research has looked to identify the amount of electricity needed to produce (net) zero carbon fuels for maritime use as part of the wider global energy transition. For shipping’s (net) zero carbon fuel needs, electricity from renewable sources used to supply shipping would need to increase by up to 3,000 TWh. This would require the equivalent of all of the world’s current renewable energy production just to provide shipping’s fuel needs.
It is clear that the transition to a green fourth propulsion future will be a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Shipping will be a key enabler of the global energy transition, providing cost effective and flexible solutions to transport at least half of (net) zero carbon fuels around the world by 2050. Immediate investment in technology, infrastructure and the establishment of international cooperation projects is needed. As a user and carrier of (net) zero carbon fuels, shipping will underpin and benefit from this transition – and it must be adequately supported.
The speed and scale of change cannot come at the cost of safety. Defined and agreed global safety and sustainability standards for hydrogen-based fuels and strong safety standards for the transport and use of (net) zero fuels must be developed quickly, to keep pace with the transformation. Seafarers and those in the supply chain must be trained and new standards developed to maintain safety and minimise risk.
This report outlines how shipping will play a fundamental role in delivering these fuels globally and act as an enabler for governments and industries to achieve their climate targets. It showcases why the maritime industry must be included in international decarbonisation plans and have access to the same (net) zero carbon fuels they will be transporting to decarbonise; the world’s renewable energy generation would need to increase up to 100% just to supply enough (net) zero carbon fuel to power the shipping industry.
The enormous scale of the opportunity and transformation of the fourth propulsion revolution for governments, ports, developing economies, and key maritime stakeholders is laid out in this report. This research was created in collaboration with author Professor Dr Stefan Ulreich, University of Applied Sciences, Biberach, Germany and Chair of the Task-force Renewables of the European Federation of Energy Traders.
For more details download full report below: