Eye on green innovation

The marine industry is not immune to decarbonization. While many changes have been made, the sector still requires more system-wide thinking.

Recent EU report ‘Research and innovation for climate neutrality by 2050 – Challenges, opportunities and the path forward’ underlines the need to mobilize coordinated action in the waterborne transport sector, using an ecosystems approach. The report notes that three value chains are critical to steering the sector’s decarbonization: the fuel chain, the shipbuilding chain, and the operations chain.

This is nothing new as such. In Europe, for example, the Waterborne Transport Platform has been working on bringing these three value chains together for a couple of years now. The Co-Programmed Partnership on Zero-Emission Waterborne Transport, a cooperation between the European Commission and the European waterborne transport sector, is seen as one key in this.

The Partnership will provide and demonstrate zero-emission solutions for all main ship types and services before 2030, enabling zero-emission waterborne transport before 2050. In the meantime, over 120 members from 21 EU Member States (and four countries associated to Horizon Europe), are actively shaping the future research, development, and innovation priorities of the sector.

These members represent the private players of the broader European waterborne transport sector, ranging from classification societies, shipbuilders, shipowners, maritime equipment manufacturers, infrastructure and service providers to universities and research institutes.

Engaging in a continuous dialogue between all waterborne stakeholders is most definitely the way forward, since that interaction is likely to yield new, green innovation for maritime and beyond. One recent example of this is technology group Wärtsilä’s introduction of marine sector’s first commercially available 4-stroke engine-based solution for ammonia fuel.

Sustainable ammonia is one of the leading candidates in shipping’s search for alternative clean fuels. Wärtsilä’s new 25 Ammonia solution can immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 70 percent, compared to a similar sized diesel solution, meeting current EU targets until 2050 (and even exceeding the IMO target for 2040).

The new solution represents a considerable leap in sustainable shipping operations – during a time in which ship owners are seeking viable options among green fuels. The ammonia solution is now commercially available as part of the Wärtsilä 25 engine platform.

Viridis Bulk Carriers, the world’s first zero emission shipping company, is intended to be the first shipowner to benefit from the new ammonia solution. Viridis Bulk Carriers is looking to change the European short sea bulk market via a carbon free transportation service based on a series of ammonia-powered newbuild vessels.


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