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Decarbonising European shipping

Powering ships with batteries, hydrogen or ammonia will decarbonise the European fleet and require only half the amount of renewable electricity that less efficient solutions like synthetic methane or synthetic diesel will need, according to a study by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E).

Battery-powered ships offer the most efficient and immediate solution to decarbonise short sea voyages within the EU. Longer journeys will ultimately require liquid hydrogen and liquid ammonia produced with zero-emission electricity. Powering ships calling at EU ports with a combination of the three would require around 25 per cent additional renewable electricity compared to total EU electricity production today, the analysis finds. This is a considerable amount but still half of what is required by other options like synthetic methane or synthetic diesel.

Further investment in gas bunkering infrastructure would lock EU countries into using LNG, which does not offer a path to decarbonisation and in some cases is worse than other fossil fuels. Faig Abbasov, shipping officer at T&E, concluded: “We need to avoid wasting lots of time and money on solutions that can’t deliver shipping decarbonisation. The biggest pitfalls are biofuels, which can’t be scaled or enforced sustainably, especially in shipping. LNG and synthetic methane are other dead ends due to methane leakage and enforcement problems.”

Source: T&E News, 15 November 2018. The report:



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