A new study published by MAN Energy Solutions and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) has concluded the industry may need to consider a ban on fossil fuels
Results of the AHOY2050 future study concluded that such a step could be necessary by the latter half of the decade. The study outlines four scenarios that explore how to reach the maritime industry’s climate targets by 2050, but also considers the failure to do so.
MAN Energy Solutions chief executive Dr Uwe Lauber warned that 2050 is just a single ship-generation away adding, “The maritime industry currently has a goal, but not yet a way to get there. By 2050, IMO wants greenhouse gas emissions to fall by 50%, however these targets have not yet been backed up by concrete measures.”
The company sees the study as a wake-up call. Dr Lauber said, “With shipping, everyone always talks about the technical side. Technically, however, the maritime energy transition has long been feasible. For years, the challenge has been at the political and overall, societal level. Today, we can build engines that run on zero-emissions fuels, but making the decision to ramp up synthetic fuels in the market is not something we can do alone.”
The study approaches shipping as part of a global ecosystem and considers climate change, commodity prices, global economic development and Covid-19. The Fraunhofer Institute interviewed 40 experts from across the maritime sector, associations, science and politics. Over 30 industry experts subsequently discussed the scenarios drafted on this basis in a workshop.
According to one key take-away, left to market forces, the shipping industry could persist in a self-optimisation mode resorting to maximising efficiency with no real change taking place.
The maritime energy transition will not withstand low oil prices in the absence of a global regulatory framework. However the emergence of robust regulation supported by consensus could trigger both a technological change and a boom in shipping as a result. A complete ban on fossil fuels in the second half of the decade could significantly promote such a development, according to the study.
In Dr Lauber’s view, a clear political course and global regulation are the key parameters for a successful maritime energy transition. “If the world becomes entangled in selfish interests, we will not achieve a climate turnaround. In contrast, a smartly set, global, regulatory framework can turn the decarbonisation of shipping into a growth engine for the industry. After all, if the global supply chain is consistently geared towards climate protection, ships are far superior to all other modes of transport.”
MAN has already introduced a methanol-burning two-stroke engine to the market and expects to deliver the first ammonia-fuelled engine in 2024. Last month, the manufacturer signed a memorandum of understanding with Eastern Pacific Shipping and methanol manufacturer OCI to develop methanol and ammonia as marine fuels
The complete study can be accessed here.
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