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Low carbon innovations for maritime freight

3 episodes
  • 1
    Can we reduce the carbon footprint of maritime freight?
  • 2
    “Hydrogen from renewable sources is key to carbon-free maritime transport”
  • 3
    Sailing merchant ships: utopia or reality?
Épisode 1/3
On May 4th, 2022
4 mins reading time
Eric-Foulquier
Eric Foulquier
Lecturer in Geography at Université Bretagne Occidentale

Key takeaways

  • In 2018, shipping released just over 1 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. This represents 2.89% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
  • Maritime freight is a major part of global trade and economic development. In 2020, the world's maritime fleet included 99,800 ships, of which nearly 54,000 are merchant ships carrying more than 80% of the goods traded worldwide.
  • The volume of CO2 emitted per tonne of cargo per kilometre has already been reduced by 20-30% between 2008 and 2019 thanks, among other things, to the modernisation of ships.
  • However, GHG emissions from maritime transport have increased by 30% since 1990. The capacity of maritime freight has increased from 1 to 2 billion between 2006 and today 8 and is expected to reach 3 billion by 2030.
Épisode 2/3
Anaïs Marechal, science journalist
On May 4th, 2022
3 mins reading time
Delphine Gozillon
Delphine Gozillon
Sustainable Shipping Officer at Transport & Environment

Key takeaways

  • The energy transition to liquefied natural gas (LNG) is not so good as it remains a fossil fuel that releases methane when used. About 3% of the 80% used by ships.
  • The use of biofuels is not particularly adapted to the shipping sector. Many sectors, notably aviation, will need 2nd and 3rd generation biofuels to achieve decarbonisation.
  • Two thirds of current GHG emissions could be avoided with a renewable energy mix and hydrogen seems to be the best alternative to fossil fuels.
  • The main limitation, behind the cost of these e-fuels, is the deployment of the whole sector. The challenge is to produce enough renewable hydrogen.
Épisode 3/3
Anaïs Marechal, science journalist
On May 4th, 2022
4 mins reading time
Cauneau-Philippe
Philippe Cauneau
Transport Engineer at the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME)

Key takeaways

  • The International Maritime Organisation and the European Commission are demanding increasing decarbonisation efforts from shipowners, and sea freight is expected to be included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme by 2023.
  • Several technologies exist for sail propulsion: the Flettner rottor, rigid composite panels, sails and notably the innovative kite.
  • One study estimates that 40-45% of the world fleet (37,000-40,000 ships) could benefit from sail propulsion by 2050, due to the lower cost of this technology and its wide availability.
  • Another study shows that 3,700 to 10,700 ships could be equipped with sail propulsion systems by 2030. This could avoid 3.5 to 7.5 million tonnes of CO 2 emissions by 2030.

Contributors

Anaïs Marechal

Anaïs Marechal

science journalist

Anaïs Marechal has a PhD in Geoscience. She first became interested in earthquakes, which she studied in research laboratories and in the field for several years. In 2017, she decided to train in science journalism at ESJ Lille. Since then, she has been working as a freelance journalist for various general, specialised and professional print media where she covers climate, health and new technologies.