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Multiple solutions needed to meet decarbonisation goals in next decade

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Shipping is set for multiple fuel solutions to meet decarbonisation targets over the 10 years, with the “holy grail” of hydrogen and ammonia decades away, according to Andreas Sohmen-Pao, chairman of BW Group.

Speaking at a Norwegian Business Association Singapore (NBAS) webinar on Wednesday, Sohmen-Pao said that hydrogen would not be ready tomorrow and that in the coming years to reduce GHG emissions shipowners would likely “have to sweat all the small stuff”.

This means areas such as efficiency improvements, utilising technology better and transition fuels. On transition fuels he noted there were arguments for and against, “but unless you just want to sit and wait for 10 – 20 years for hydrogen to be available at the right cost we need to take these incremental steps.”

In the case of BW the company is investing batteries for shortsea shipping, LPG engine conversions for its LPG tankers, using LNG on its LNG carriers, and making investments in methanol as a fuel.

Sohmen-Pao described ammonia and hydrogen as “holy grail” solutions, but that it was likely ammonia would not be at the scale required for another 20 years and hydrogen could be even further out.

“What’s encouraging is to see so many of the industry working on all these different elements not just sitting waiting for the big one,” he said.

Fellow panellist Laurence Odfjell, chair of Odfjell, said the biggest investment for hydrogen and ammonia would not be the ships themselves but the production and supply infrastructure for these new fuels. “Who is going to produce carbon free ammonia, who is going to produce carbon free hydrogen?”