Short-term solutions for shipping emissions reduction

How Clean Tech Can Put Shipping on Course for Paris Targets
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Shipping companies are increasingly turning towards innovative technologies to reduce their carbon footprints. While zero-carbon fuels are not yet commercially viable or scalable, companies are looking to short-term measures to optimise their efficiency and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. These measures are partly driven by new regulations from the European Union and the International Maritime Organisation. Shipping companies must now monitor, report, and reduce their carbon emissions and meet a minimum energy efficiency standard. All ships trading with the EU will be taxed on their emissions from 2024.

Wind-assisted technology is emerging as an attractive solution, as it is both commercially available and highly effective. Smart Green Shipping Alliance has developed a retrofit which allows ships to use retractable steel and aluminium sails to harness wind power instead of fossil fuels. The company has also designed an AI-assisted route-planning software that optimises the use of wind. A pilot project found that cargo ships equipped with sails saved 20% of fuel annually on a transatlantic voyage

Zero44, a Berlin-based start-up, provides shipping companies with software that monitors their emissions and forecasts future levels. The company aims to help customers understand the consequences of their operational decisions and generate the certificates required to comply with regulations. The software assists companies in managing their emissions more consciously and minimising their exposure to the price rises associated with the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Experts say that shorter-term solutions to improve efficiency can cut the fuel requirements of shipping by up to 40%. The pressure to reduce costs and meet the requirements of new regulations is driving the move towards high-tech short-term solutions, with many proponents arguing that they provide a means of managing exposure and generating profits in a volatile market.

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