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Zero emissions shipping by 2050

Over 150 leading firms and organizations, including oil majors and port authorities, have asked for the global shipping industry to be wholly decarbonized by 2050. They were pressing governments to accelerate action and warning that time was running out.

With almost 90% of global goods handled by sea, worldwide shipping contributes to nearly 3% of global CO2 emissions. The sector is under increasing pressure to become cleaner.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN shipping body, has stated that it seeks to reduce overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships by 50 percent from 2008 levels by 2050. However, industry organizations are pressing for governments to take more aggressive action. Companies and groups from the shipping, chartering, finance, sports, and fuel production sectors say stricter regulations are needed to ensure the industry meets the climate goals established by the Paris agreement, which intends to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

The World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum, the non-profit Global Maritime Forum, and other partners formed the Call to Action project. It stated that shipping decarbonization could only happen with the urgency and scale required if governments and regulators adopted suitable regulatory frameworks. Policymakers have a historic chance to accelerate this process by instituting a global carbon levy on marine fuels to drive decarbonization.

The UN agency has a clear work plan ahead of it, including a discussion of additional steps to reduce GHG emissions from ships, which will allow member states to review the current strategy and propose new goals.

The corporation is involved in various industrial research programs to develop technologies and fuels that can enable zero-emissions ships.

MSC Cruises recently announced a collaboration with leading shipbuilder Fincantieri and energy infrastructure company Snam to determine the conditions for the design and construction. These include rearranging ship rooms to incorporate hydrogen technologies and fuel cells. Identify the technical parameters of onboard systems, calculate the potential savings in greenhouse gas emissions, and conduct technical and economic analyses of hydrogen supply and shore-based infrastructure.

Fuel Cells on LNG-powered vessels

According to MSC, fuel cells have a high potential for achieving considerable reductions. MSC has ordered three LNG-powered ships and is researching the incorporation of fuel cells as a possibility of achieving even more significant cost savings. Blue Horizon’s research and development project integrates a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology aboard LNG-powered cruise ships. It was revealed in 2019 by MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique.

Retrofitting fuel cell technology

MSC Cruises has also joined a coalition with GE Power Conversion, Lloyd’s Register, and Ceres Power Holdings to investigate overcoming challenges to fuel cell use in large ship applications. It will look at how SOFCs may be integrated into a ship’s operating functionality, including the existing power and propulsion architecture and layout, to quantify the impact of employing SOFC technology in terms of overall emissions reduction. The project has received financing through the UK Department of Transport’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

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