Today the UK Department for Transport published the Clean Maritime Plan describing the ambition to drastically reduce emissions of both greenhouse gases and air pollutants from the shipping sector and to develop strong UK industries to deliver this. The scale of the challenge is huge and the analysis suggests that Liquefied Natural Gas and biofuels will not allow the maritime sector to reach domestic and international targets cost effectively. Instead, low-carbon fuels such as ammonia or hydrogen are likely needed as large proportions of the maritime fuel mix from 2035, meaning that development work needs to start very soon. Many of these future fuel and propulsion systems build upon areas in which UK companies are active, offering an opportunity to build a strong clean maritime sector.
E4tech’s data and analysis helped underpin the plan, as part of a Frontier Economics -led consortium which also included UMAS,CE Delft and Aether. The research explored the low-emission fuel options, as well as the operational and technological solutions that can be utilised to reduce emissions in both domestic and international shipping to 2050. The analysis also looks at the industrial opportunities for the UK from a transitioning maritime sector, finding that the production technologies for hydrogen and its derived fuels, electric propulsion systems and batteries are areas of competitive advantage for the UK, alongside the traditional strengths of the UK’s maritime services sector.
The tides are changing for shipping, bringing both threat and opportunity.
For more information about E4tech’s work in low emission transport, fuels and energy see www.e4tech.com