The maritime sector is striving to achieve its 2030 carbon reduction goals, but it faces significant challenges in securing sufficient zero carbon fuels. A recent report by DNV emphasizes the need for accelerated production of these fuels to meet industry demands. This article breaks down the key findings and recommendations from DNV’s research.
The Challenge Ahead
DNV’s research estimates that by 2030, the industry will require between 44 and 62 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in carbon-neutral fuels, with a projected production of 17 Mtoe. This demand for zero carbon fuels poses a significant challenge, as shipping competes with aviation, road transportation, and other industries for these resources.
Government Support is Crucial
To meet emission reduction targets, DNV calls upon governments to increase their support for early adopters of carbon-neutral fuels. A critical aspect of this support is implementing carbon pricing mechanisms, which can incentivize the development and utilization of low and zero carbon fuels.
Fuel Flexibility is Key
DNV’s CEO of Maritime, Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, notes that while the adoption of methanol-powered ships has been rapid, it still represents just over 6% of the global fleet with dual fuel capability. Given uncertain fuel supply and price fluctuations, fuel flexibility will be essential for shipowners to meet their low carbon fuel requirements.
Existing Technology Can Lead the Way
DNV emphasizes that existing ships can transition to carbon-neutral operation using biodiesel without requiring new technologies. Additionally, improving fuel efficiency and implementing technologies like carbon capture and storage systems (CCS) can play a crucial role in this transition.
Reducing Emissions During Voyages
DNV’s research highlights that a 15,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessel on the Asia to Europe route equipped with 4,000 cubic meters of tanks can achieve carbon neutrality by offloading CO2 twice during each voyage. By capturing 70% of emissions and enhancing efficiencies, significant progress can be made.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Potential
DNV points out that CCS technology, already in use by the oil industry to extract oil from wells, can be employed in shipping. A full-scale CCS trial on a Norwegian chemical tanker is scheduled for the coming year.
Exploring Fuel Alternatives
DNV’s transition paper explores various fuel possibilities, including methanol, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and nuclear options, as well as bio-versions of LNG and CCS technology. However, the report is less optimistic about wind energy as a primary energy source for larger vessels, considering it more promising as an energy-saving technology.
DNV’s research underscores the urgent need for the shipping industry to secure substantial supplies of zero carbon fuels to meet its 2030 targets. Government support, carbon pricing, and fuel flexibility are essential components of this transition, while existing technologies like CCS and biodiesel can contribute significantly to reducing emissions.