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Sowing the ZEEDS for zero emission fuels

This week’s Nor-Shipping has seen the public unveiling of a new Nordic teaming of six companies working together on a project for Zero Emission Energy Distributions at Sea (ZEEDS).

The joint project is led by Wärtsilä and also includes engineering company Aker Solutions; energy group Equinor; shipping and logistics company DFDS; shipowner and operator Grieg Star; and engineering, procurement and construction group Kvaerner.

Representatives of the six companies appeared together on various occasions during the week to extol the merits of their collaborative approach and to issue an open invitation to other interested parties to join the venture, in order to help accelerate the switch to cleaner shipping fuels.

“We don’t have the luxury of waiting for new regulations or better margins,” commented Elisabeth Grieg, chair of Grieg Star Group. “We have to start now. We feel the sense of urgency.”

The ZEEDS concept to date envisages a network of offshore clean energy hubs – wind turbine-powered floating or anchored platforms strategically located close to busy shipping routes, capable of distributing renewable fuels to vessels in transit via ship-to-ship transfers. Multiple fuels including hydrogen and ammonia could be used.

The vision was to look beyond just ships, said Wärtsilä's Andrea Morgante, vp - Strategy and Business Development. “We realised there was a lot of value to be captured in the logistics chain.” 

Indeed, at an ABS press conference held the same day it was pointed out that building an embryonic supply chain for LNG had already taken 10 years, suggesting there’s no time to waste preparing for zero emission counterparts

Partnerships combining different ideas and area of expertise may also be the best way to tackle shipping’s decarbonisation – the technology for which simply doesn’t exist at present, as it was often pointed out during the week. They also form one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (for 2030), which featured prominently in the Nor-Shipping exhibition’s ‘Blue Economy’ Hall A throughout this week.

“Shipowners of the past are not going to survive in the future,” concluded Grieg at one presetation. “Winners of the future will be partnerships that find new solutions.”