Battery power is key to decarbonisation

T&E infographic Transport & Environment is advocating the use of batteries, hydrogen or ammonia to decarbonise shipping. Credit: T&E

Powering European ships with batteries, hydrogen or ammonia will be the most efficient way to decarbonise the fleet and require half the amount of renewable electricity that synthetic methane or synthetic diesel will need.

That’s according to sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E), which has published a ‘Roadmap to Decarbonising European Shipping’. The report comes as the EU sets out in its 2050 Decarbonisation Strategy how it will end the use of fossil fuels in shipping, including marine fuel oil and LNG.

Faig Abbasov, shipping officer at T&E, said: “We need progress at international level coupled with practical steps in Europe such as investment in both shore-side charging stations and the production and bunkering infrastructure needed for hydrogen. A zero-emission shipping strategy in the EU would help cut pollution but also give European companies an edge in what will be some of the most important technologies of the future.”

Best solution?

Battery powered ships offer the most efficient and immediate solution to decarbonise short sea voyages within the EU. Longer journeys will ultimately require liquid hydrogen and liquid ammonia produced with zero-emission electricity, found the report.

Powering ships calling at EU ports with a combination of the three would require around 25% additional renewable electricity compared to total EU electricity production today.

Mr Abbasov warned that biofuels can’t be scaled or enforced sustainably and synthetic methane and fossil LNG also run the risk of methane leakage.

T&E said that further investment in gas bunkering infrastructure would lock EU countries into using LNG.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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