Ports, shipping and other stakeholders, supported by government policies, need to work together to address CO2 emissions and GHG
If the maritime sector is going to be successful in decarbonising, the effort is going to have to involve close collaboration among all stakeholders, US and European port authority executives said.
Collaboration was a reoccurring theme at Riviera Maritime Media’s webinar, The role of ports in decarbonising the maritime industry, part of Maritime Air Pollution (MAP) webinar week in May.
Attendees heard from Antwerp Port Authority technical manager environment Katrien Van Itterbeeck, Jacksonville Port Authority (Jaxport) director for forest products and specialty cargoes Ricardo Schiappacasse, DNV GL Energy and Maritime director for blue economy – North America Jennifer States and Port of Helsinki head of sustainable development Andreas Slotte.
Panellists discussed their efforts to reduce CO2, nitrous oxide (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SOx) emissions at ports to support the Paris Agreement and international, national and regional climate change initiatives.
As a multi-modal port, the Port of Antwerp identified vessels as accounting for about 70% of its NOx emissions, according to Ms Itterbeeck.
“We have to get emissions down and the most feasible way to go about this is by installing and having vessels connect to a shore power system,” she said.
“At the intersection of land and sea, ports can play a pivotal role in decarbonisation”
Ms Itterbeeck said shore power will solve the “majority of our local nitrogen oxide problem” and “have huge health benefits.”
CO2 emissions, greenhouse gases and particulate matter from ships and port-related activities can pose risks to human health, causing higher instances of childhood asthma, bronchitis, cardiovascular and respiratory disease in port area populations.
LNG-based shore power
Overseeing the largest port in Florida, Mr Schiappacasse said the Jacksonville Port Authority’s approach to implementing shore power was tempered by practicality.
“One of the issues for the port is that our local electric company really doesn’t have the infrastructure to supply power to each one of the berths for shore power connections,” said Mr Schiappacasse. Instead, Mr Schiappacasse said, the port was developing a mobile, 20-ft container-based shore power solution that would incorporate an LNG-fuelled generator and ISO fuel tank.
“It is not an ideal situation, but for practicality’s sake, [it is] the best situation for us right now,” he added.
LNG is readily available in Jaxport through small-scale LNG facilities and bunkering stations that serve four LNG-fuelled vessels that operate between Jacksonville, Florida.
Ports need to be ‘green gateways’
Part of the DNV GL team supporting Washington Maritime Blue, Ms States said collaboration across industry, government, and research organisations was critical in order to implement maritime decarbonisation as part of a state-wide strategy for the blue economy.
“At the intersection of land and sea, ports can play a pivotal role in decarbonisation and the much-needed energy transition,” she said.
Critical to the transition of ports becoming ‘green gateways’, she said, is that all sector players join forces.
“We’ve worked on developing maritime decarbonisation strategies and implementation of joint industry projects in order to demonstrate new technologies,” said Ms States.
As an example, Ms States cited a demonstration project being undertaken by a consortium involving Maritime Blue, DNV GL, Tacoma Power, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and OCO Chemical.
For the demonstration project, excess green electricity produced from hydropower by Tacoma Power will be used to produce hydrogen through electrolysis. The hydrogen will be converted to formic acid, which is much easier to store and transport.
“We can prove out formic acid as a liquid hydrogen carrier, potentially for use in a marine fuel application in the future,” she said. The formic acid is converted back to hydrogen and put into a 1 MW fuel cell that would be used at the Port of Tacoma for a mobile shore power solution, avoiding the need to build an expensive substation.
The consortium has applied for federal funding from the US Department of Energy to back its own financing efforts.
Committed to carbon neutrality by 2035
Fully owned by the city, the Port of Helsinki is one of the busiest passenger ports in Europe, said Mr Slotte, handling 12.2M passengers in 2019.
The city and port have committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2035.
To meet that commitment, the port is building a new shore power connection for Stockholm traffic at the Olympia Terminal berth. Onshore power supply will make it possible to reduce emissions generated while ships are berthed in port by as much as 80%. The total value of the investment for the port is about €1.8M (US$2M).
“We’re also committed to supporting our customers, our stakeholders, our partners, in making their own operations more sustainable and reducing their carbon footprint,” said Mr Slotte adding, “Our sustainability objectives are ambitious, but they are also realistic.”