Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: decarbonization and sustainable energy in maritime

5 mins read  Sealuminati TeamOctober 1, 2021

That's why the global and most pressing topic in the maritime industry is decarbonization. One of the goals of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is to reduce total annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050 (compared to 2008).

Source: LLoyd Register, NDV, Assessment of IMO Mandated Energy Efficiency Measures for International Shopping.

There are many factors to consider when talking about green shipping:

- Sustainable Manufacturing - Shipbuilding

- Sustainable operation: fuel and everything that works on the ship

- Sustainable work ashore: loading cargo, containers, liquids

- Optimal use: sharing transport

Energy as a problem and solution

The main decarbonization vectors are the energy vectors. After the sails came the steamers, large and terrible for the climate. We now rely on some fossil and unsustainable sources. If we continue to use energy in the quantities that we use, the climate will simply not be regulated. It is necessary that the vectors of energy return to their renewable sources. There are different challenges for everyone.

The most widely used are solar, wind, and hydropower, but they all fluctuate. In addition, there are other forms of "sustainable" energy, such as nuclear, but they face other problems and are not so promising now. Biomass is another option, but at the moment we don't have enough data on how much we have and whether it can be truly sustainable, so we can come back to it later. In the northern countries of Europe on some days it is possible with the help of windmills to produce more than 100% of their energy, but on average this figure is only about 50%. The question of stabilization is open.

Renewable energy can be generated at the point of consumption using sails or solar panels, which is a good investment but is not completely reliable. Some fuels can be centrally produced, stored, and transported for consumption, such as batteries.

There are already examples of shipowners installing wind generators and sails onboard, some follow the same principle as kitesurfing, solar panels. After installing this type of equipment, the generated energy is obtained practically free of charge, that is, you do not need to pay for it, only maintain the units.

New sustainable and stored energy

A new idea emerged called E-fuel. The maritime industry and the rest of society are considering it because it can be stored. It is either energy in a gas or energy in a liquid. Through electrolysis, it separates water into hydrogen and oxygen, where hydrogen is an energy carrier. It is difficult to store, but it is changing the way society uses energy. Hydrogen may be the new oil, but we need hydrogen carriers. It could combine with carbon or nitrogen. Hydrogen is the right way. Large ships that consume huge amounts of energy and do not enter the port, which often require something like one of the hydrogen carriers, such as methanol or ethanol. The real question now is to find a sustainable energy vector for large ships.

The problem is that while we find sustainable energy sources like green carbon, there are still open questions like Is green carbon enough? And obviously, it's not just the maritime industry that thinks about it. The aviation industry will also need green carbon. Plastics factories, the chemical industry, and many more.

The energy of the future

Energy production, as well as related infrastructure and trade, belong to a very radical spectrum of innovation. Our society is built around oil and fossil fuels. So the transition from this direction to hydrogen or other areas of sustainable energy is not only undermining the established foundations in the global economy but an excellent opportunity for society as a whole to make a breakthrough to cleaner, more stable, and profitable energy resources, not only in the maritime industry.

The goal is to increase electrolysis volumes, battery capacity, fuel cell technology, and carbon capture and storage. Finally, we need increased transparency and classification of sustainable biomass.

The challenges that need to be addressed are, first and foremost, increasing the energy efficiency of shipping vessels, and then achieving optimal ship utilization through digitization using the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning (ML), and Artifactual Intelligence (AI).

Digital tools for energy optimization

Many companies are beginning to strive to ensure that transport becomes more environmentally friendly, the presence of old ships in the fleet actually does not allow us to understand the exact energy consumption and how much they throw away. Monitoring the performance of a vessel as well as monitoring emissions is the first technological stage when the necessary sensors and sensors are installed by shipowners and ship companies. At the second stage, it is important to learn how to managing telemetry data from ships and correctly process them in order to predict service, avoid problems and detect inefficient use of energy on individual ship units, which are associated with the overall operability of the ship. Monitoring, collection, and processing of telemetry data can also reduce the risk of shipwrecks and environmental disasters.

Digital tools for optimizing ship energy resources at sea make it possible to plan routes taking into account the condition of the vessel and external factors (weather, wind, waves, etc.). Marine Digital FOS allows you to choose the best route in terms of fuel consumption, and therefore harmful emissions up to 12%.

Reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions up to 12%!