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The Maritime Energy Transition: Navigating Nuclear's Role in Decarbonisation

Photo: CORE POWER mikalboe.jpg
Mikal Bøe, Chairman and CEO of CORE POWER
In the grand theatre of global commerce, maritime has long held centre stage. Yet as the world grapples with the spectres of climate change and environmental degradation, this protagonist faces a profound existential challenge: a transition to green energy. Amid the tumultuous symphony of solutions, one voice resonates with unwavering conviction—Mikal Bøe, the Chairman and CEO of CORE POWER.

The maritime industry, a lynchpin of global commerce, stands at a pivotal moment. It faces a pressing transition towards decarbonisation and a climate-neutral future. As per recent insights from Mikal Bøe, Chairman and CEO of CORE POWER, ahead of London International Shipping Week 2023 (LISW23) via the London Talks video series, the role of modern nuclear power appears indispensable in this journey. 

View the video to gain a deeper understanding of Mikal Bøe's insights on modern nuclear power and its role in maritime's fast-paced journey towards decarbonisation and net zero.

The Quandary of Current Alternatives

Solar and wind power, once hailed as viable alternative fuel sources, seem to stumble when confronted with the harsh realities of maritime energy demands. As Mr. Bøe points out, the intermittent nature of these power sources requires a staggering 80% and 60% backup for solar and wind, respectively. Moreover, the inefficiencies of other potential fuels like ammonia and methanol, in terms of energy density, contribute to their gradual fall from grace.

The Nuclear Proposition

Enter nuclear power, a subject often imbued with a mix of enthusiasm and scepticism. Its modern variant, however, is ushering in a different perspective. When applied to maritime, new nuclear power can generate a staggering four million times more power than alternative fuel sources. In terms of tangible impacts, a capesize bulker powered by this technology can prevent 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Modern nuclear technology presents a compelling case as a cleaner, affordable, and viable solution to meet shipping's green objectives. Unlike its conventional counterpart, the contemporary nuclear offering is "distinctly different," as per Bøe's characterization, promising a safe operational capacity in various maritime contexts.

Redefining the Future

The urgency of the matter cannot be overstated. The chilling realisation that the world is likely to exceed 1.5 degrees of warming and not reach net zero by 2050 provides a bleak backdrop to this unfolding narrative. In Bøe's words, it's a "defining milestone in the chaotic nature of our energy transition."

But within this tumultuous landscape, opportunities abound. Modern nuclear power opens the doors to potential applications that extend beyond mere transportation. Green shipping corridors, desalination, synthetic fuel production, and recharging electric port technology are just a few possibilities.

In Summary

As the global community grapples with the pressing imperatives of climate change and sustainability, maritime's embrace of modern nuclear technology emerges as a vital component. It's a notion that goes beyond mere innovation or development - it calls for a new way of thinking.

Indeed, as Bøe emphasizes, "We need to think differently because the future cannot look the same as it does today." These words resonate as a harbinger of both a challenge and an opportunity. The maritime industry's path to decarbonisation may be fraught with complexities, but the nuclear road seems increasingly paved with promise.