Peering into the future – the near future, not the distant future – we see the beginnings of a pathway towards a goal that some believe is only aspirational: a zero-emissions shipping industry. It really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as our heritage until about 170 years ago was predicated on zero emissions through sail and sweat. We went for centuries in a zero emissions world, and it looks as though we are going to return to that through the benefit of technology.
Much as I scoffed at wind playing a role in modern shipping until I met Gaven Albright of IWSA (International Windship Association), I became a convert when he illustrated to me how wind can be used to create energy which reduces the load on fossil fuels. The Flettner Rotor and other technologies go a long way towards making lower emissions feasible and their efficacy grows daily!
But zero emission? How do we get there??
It was my good fortune at Nor-Shipping to be situated next to the PBES booth (Plan B Energy Storage) and had the opportunity to meet its CEP. Brent Parry. He is passionate about the opportunities afforded by electric/hybrid propulsion for short hauls AND long hauls. LONG hauls??? He assures me he has the ability to do ocean crossings today. I’m looking forward to learning more!
And then there is Maddy Macclaine of ZESTA (Zero Emission Ship Technology Association) who is in discussions with Trans-Pacific posts to run a hydrogen carrier service. As pressure mounts on charterers catering to the public (I’m thinking Walmart and others), practical solutions must be provided.
And with the United Kingdom calling for emission free ships at 2025, we don’t have much time!