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Live from Sea Asia

No silver bullet to shipping’s decarbonisation journey

There will be “no silver bullet” to shipping’s decarbonisation path and action needs to be taken today were two key takeaways from a Sea Asia 2021 panel session on the transition to zero emission fuels.

Bud Darr, Executive Vice President, Maritime Policy and Government Affairs for MSC, said the first step was recognising the problem and working together collaboratively on future fuels.

Darr stressed the need to develop multiple solutions. “The next step I would say is we need to be creative and we need to be open-minded and those that are quick to point to one particular fuel pathway as being the answer, I don't think they've really thought through the implications of that, or its application to the complex nature of our business and the different types of ships and deployments that, that we see throughout the industry.”

He said that the industry needed to diversify its risks in developing future fuels.

Peter Lye, Global Head of Shipping for Anglo-American agreed, “I think we are in the camp that there are no silver bullet theories, there's going to be a number of solutions. Some are more readily available today.”

Lye said that with shipowners it should not all be about short-term solutions, nor all about the long-term,

“But the work needs to be to be done now, and that's not just a technology argument it's a discussion around regulatory infrastructure and supporting aspects,” he said.

Takeo Akamatsu, Project Leader, Integrated Project for Development of NH3 Fuel Ship with Fuel Supply Chain, Marine Department, Itochu Corp, said that they were waiting for IMO to set up the regulatory framework and incentives to encourage shipping to move forward.

Akamatsu encouraged everyone to undertake pilot projects, Itochu for example like many others is testing ammonia. More testing and pilot projects were needed, “otherwise we cannot say will be the true options in the future”.

Some fuels such as methanol and relatively soon ammonia are already usable as marine fuels, however, infrastructure and supply are lagging behind.

Speaking from an energy supplier perspective Jerome Le Prince-Ringuet, Vice President Marine Fuels,TotalEnergies, said there needed to be visibility from industry players at every stage what was being done.

“I would just like to highlight that energy from each fuel mentioned there is a competition,” he said.

For example for green methanol there is a 100m tonne a year industry that is looking to decarbonise, the same applies for synthetic LNG. For all future fuels there will be competition from the electricity generating industry.