Fuels & energy sources of the future

How can the maritime sector contribute to limiting climate change? German Maritime Centre presents first interim results from studies on the fuel portfolio and hydrogen.

Replacing fossil fuels with renewables is an important issue for the maritime industry. It is facing global upheaval. In order to hit climate targets and help limit climate change, shipbuilding, shipping and ports as well as the adjacent sectors in the logistics chain must achieve rapid success.

Today, more than 200 experts discussed which fuels are currently available for global shipping and what the current and future options are for using, producing and transporting hydrogen along the entire maritime logistics chain.

“The German Maritime Centre has commissioned studies both on fuel analysis in shipping by ship segment and on hydrogen use in the maritime industry, which we want to use to think into the future”, says Claus Brandt, managing director of the DMZ. The aim of the studies, he says, is to define the underpinnings of structural change. “We need to know which alternative fuels can be procured globally and what role hydrogen can play in the maritime economy,” Brandt continues.

“It is about making shipping CO2-free. To do this, we need to know which fuels are available across the world, where and for which types of ships. We also want to show which fuels can best be substituted and bunkered and where”, explains Ralf Plump, ship and marine technology officer at the DMZ, who is overseeing the study on alternative fuels.

“If we want to use hydrogen effectively, we have to think about regulations and logistics chains now, which raises questions of hydrogen production, its various uses, storage, transport, distribution, etc. The ports play a central role in this”, explains Katja Leuteritz, ports and infrastructure officer at the DMZ, who is guiding the study on hydrogen.

The first results of the studies were presented at the event. It kicked off with two contributions.
Detlef Wilde (Alfred Wegener Institute) – in his function as project director for the Polarstern II – presented the decision-making process for the new ship, which is to be designed and operated as climate neutrally as possible.

Dr Tobias Haack (CEO of HADAG Seetouristik und Fährdienst AG) explained how Hamburg’s water-based public transport is becoming climate neutral.

Next, Thomas Rust, head of the study on the fuel portfolio for the contractor Ramboll, presented the data from the survey of the status quo of fuel types and consumption in shipping worldwide. This also included a survey of which alternatives exist at which locations, now and in the future.

Dr. Nils Meyer-Larsen (Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics/ISL), head of the study on hydrogen, explained the first results. The analysis of the North German, national and European hydrogen strategies shows a gap between energy demand and energy production in Germany. In a next step, the study will examine current technologies related to hydrogen in the maritime sector and define the associated process chains from production to the finished product.

“Hydrogen is the connecting element between the two projects”, said Claus Brandt at the end of the event, “it is the basis of all alternative fuels and is always in play when it comes to CO2-free ships, ports and logistics”.

Both studies are scheduled to be completed and published in summer 2021.

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