Industry must get out in front of regulations, capitalising on opportunities now to reduce GHG and CO2 emissions
Shipping plans 50% reduction in GHG emissions
By 2050, international shipping expects to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from oceangoing vessels by 50% as compared to 2008 levels, with efforts focusing on eliminating CO2. To accomplish this ambitious goal, shipping needs to invest in new technologies and more efficient vessels. IMO has already adopted mandatory rules to boost the fuel efficiency of new vessels to cut CO2 emissions, with a final plan expected to be released by 2023. Clearly, the clock is ticking, and industry needs to get out in front of new regulations.
Industry needs to act now
“Emissions targets have been set and there is no turning back,” said Marshall Islands Registry senior vice president of maritime administration and regulatory affairs Nicholas Makar. He emphasised that while regulatory certainty is needed, there was no time to waste. “The sector does not need to wait for new regulatory requirements in order to capitalise on opportunities now, to improve energy efficiency and innovate.”
Mr Makar made his remarks at Riviera’s Maritime Air Pollution: Opportunity and Incentivising Change webinar, presented in association with the Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems Association.
He was joined by Azurtane marine consultant and projects manager Mark West, Daphne Technology head of sales and marketing Neil Anderson and EGCSA director Don Gregory.
Need to change traditional business practices
While shipping prides itself on being the most efficient mode of transport to move cargo, Mr West said there is ample scope, opportunities and capabilities within shipping and its supplier base for a step reduction in CO2 emissions.
In order to take advantage of these opportunities, however, Mr West said shipping needs to shift from its traditional mindset. “Changes need to be made in charterparty agreements to enable more flexible operations,” he said. This means applying technology to enact advanced voyage operations and optimisation, automated measurement and reporting of fuel consumption, efficiency measurements and emissions. Shipping companies will need to incentivise ship operating staff and provide them with timely, useful information they can act on.
“There’s a price for everything and that’s what drives behaviour”
No opportunity too small
Giving an example of an opportunity for substantial savings in fuel consumption and emissions, Mr West pointed out that a large bulk carrier sailing in ballast from the Asia to Africa on a 5,780 nautical mile route, made the voyage in 18 days at a speed of 13 knots. The vessel consumed 540 tonnes of fuel. “It then remained at anchor for nine days waiting for its berth to unload. If it had taken a ‘just in time’ voyage, sailing at 9 knots, it would have saved US$140,000 in fuel costs and 900 tonnes of CO2 emissions.”
While not as obvious, smaller opportunities also exist for incremental gains, Mr West said. In one instance, by monitoring fuel consumption in 10-second intervals, 1 to 2-kilos of consumption was found to be used by an automatic backflush filter in the main engine fuel system. Further investigation revealed that as much as 10 tonnes of fuel was being dumped into a sludge tank on an annual basis. “This may not seem like much until losses of this type are projected across a fleet or world shipping. The industry needs to embrace the concept of marginal gains; every consumption and loss matters,” emphasised Mr West.
However, at the end of the day, Mr Gregory noted, “There’s a price for everything and that’s what drives behaviours. At the moment, fuel is very cheap. Therefore, the attention to saving fuel... is just not there...."
HFO not the ‘bad boy’
Mr Anderson also made the case that burning heavy fuel oil (HFO) and using a scrubber could still be the best choice when it comes to the environment and cutting CO2 emissions. He cited recent research that showed a vessel fitted with a scrubber burning HFO had a better energy efficiency operating index (EEOI) than another vessel using marine diesel oil (MDO) operating on the same route. The delta between the two vessels was a savings of 170 tonnes of CO2 in favour of the scrubber-fitted vessel.
He also noted that the more a fuel is refined, the more CO2 emissions are generated in the refinery process. “Combine that with slow steaming and monitoring and clearly heavy fuel oil is not the bad boy in this scenario. In terms of CO2, it has the least impact on the environment.”
Path to decarbonisation needs to be defined
Among the five audience polls conducted during the webinar, results from two stood out. Asked their opinion regarding what represents the most significant barrier to decarbonising the shipping sector, 71% of respondents said the lack of regulatory certainty/clarity in future requirements, while 25% cited the high costs of investments in new technologies.
Some 97% of poll respondents agreed that achieving absolute reductions in CO2 emissions would require an annual cap on fossil-derived carbon emissions reduced annually over 20 years.