Maritime Industry and Sustainability

12 Mar 2022 | by Sameer Khattar

Decarbonization has been the most buzzing word across several industries today. The recent COP 26 conference have resulted in many pledges, one of them being “The Global Methane Pledge”. As such, many industries have started to mitigate/use alternative fuels to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The shipping industry is responsible for around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually, which is at least 2.5% of the world’s total carbon emissions. The commission set out a strategy towards reducing GHG emissions – Monitoring/Reporting/Verification, working towards GHG reduction targets (at least 50% by 2050) and further technological measures.

The IMO (International Maritime Organization) has introduced measuring current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, which sets a baseline for the reduction in targets. To reduce these carbon emissions, they have introduced SEEMP (Ship Energy Efficiency Management plans). This allows ship owners to improve energy efficiency of existing ships by operational measures (such as speed optimization) and design measures (new ships comply with minimum energy efficiency performance levels). Further technological measures include hull cleaning and propeller polishing for an increase in engine performance. In 2020, the IMO had imposed that the global upper limit on Sulphur content of ships fuel oil was to be reduced to 0.5% from 3.5% in emission controlled areas.

Another such initiative introduced in the transport industry is “sustainable fuels” such as biofuels. Examples are ethanol and biomass-based diesel fuel that are made from biomass materials. Using these reduces the consumption of gasoline and diesel fuel made from crude oil (ethanol/biodiesel being the cleaner burning fuels). As part of the sustainability plans, events like the F1 race also announced that it would move towards sustainable fuel, using components that come from either a carbon capture scheme, municipal waste or non-food biomass.