Shell backs hydrogen and fuel cells in future fuels debate

As diverse members of the shipping industry jostle to have their say on future fuels ahead of key talks at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), an energy major has come out in firm support of hydrogen and fuel cells.

Shell issued a 25-page shipping decarbonisation report yesterday in which it went through the potential role of different future fuels.

Shell’s analysis points to hydrogen and fuel cells as the zero-emissions technologies with the greatest potential to help the shipping sector achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Shell will seek to advance its research in this area, as hydrogen is projected to benefit from build-out across other industry and transport sectors, making it potentially more cost competitive than alternative zero-emissions fuels,” the company stated in a release.

Processes with the fewest transformations in delivering the energy to ships are likely to be the most efficient, and ultimately have the lowest cost

“We believe liquid hydrogen to be advantaged over other potential zero-emissions fuels for shipping, therefore giving a higher likelihood of success,.” Shell stated in the report. “Processes with the fewest transformations in delivering the energy to ships are likely to be the most efficient, and ultimately have the lowest cost – a key factor for the sector. Therefore, hydrogen appears likely to be competitive over the long-term cost of ownership versus other zero- emissions fuels that may be available,” it added.

Shell said it would develop the experience and standards for use of hydrogen in a marine environment and enable commercial deployment of hydrogen across sectors while on the topic of fuel cells it stated its intention to establish a consortium to develop and trial the technology on a commercial deepsea vessel.

Other measures announced include the creation of a set of performance standards for application on future newbuild vessels for all ship types with the aim to deliver up to 25% emissions savings.

Shell will also implement a programme of emissions data collection across the company’s internationally traded time and voyage charters with the intent to publish annual carbon intensity data.

“The shipping industry needs to develop the new technologies, fuels and infrastructure required for a net-zero emissions sector at a pace never previously seen,” said Grahaeme Henderson, global head of Shell Shipping & Maritime. “This will require the determination of all of those at the forefront of this transition. We have listened to our customers and partners in the sector and we have set ourselves an ambitious course. I hope that by doing so, openly and transparently, others will be encouraged to join us and help create a net-zero emissions future for shipping.”

Shell said the shipping sector cannot simply wait for its zero-emissions fuel to emerge and must also look to bring down and peak emissions as quickly as possible. A zero-emissions fuel is not likely to be available on a commercial scale globally until the 2030s, the energy major predicted. It urged the industry takes action to reduce emissions now with solutions available today.

“Efficiency gains are vital in all pathways. Solutions such as wind assist, air lubrication, advanced engine lubricants and digital optimisation technologies must all be deployed to close the gap to net-zero emissions as much as possible,” Shell stated, while reasserting its backing for LNG as an interim fuel to which end the company said it will double its existing LNG bunkering infrastructure on key international trade routes by the mid-2020s.

A host of big names in shipping are getting their decarbonisation views across ahead of November’s important gathering of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) at the IMO. Commodities giant Trafigura this month proposed a carbon levy on shipping of up to $300 per tonne of CO2-equivalent.

Extracted from Splash247

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