A new study from the International Chamber of Shipping
confirms expectations that the maritime industry will have to surmount a real
ramp-up challenge for its future fuel supply as it makes the transition to
According to ICS-sponsored research authored by Prof. Stefan
Ulreich, an energy industry expert at the Biberach University of Applied
Sciences, the green-energy requirements of tomorrow's shipping industry will be
staggering. In order to attain the 2050 net-zero carbon goal, shipping may have
to source 3,000 terawatt-hours of renewable electricity per year in order to
make green hydrogen, the key ingredient in green ammonia and green methanol.
This is the equivalent of the entire world's current renewable energy
production (excluding hydropower, which accounts for another 4,400
terawatt-hours per year).
According to the report, this tremendous supply requirement
presents a giant economic opportunity, particularly for countries in the global
south. To seize that opportunity, "hydrogen and (net) zero carbon fuel
facilities must be urgently developed to ensure access to a highly competitive
market," and new export policies and trade agreements will have to be set
up to match. Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Chile and Morocco are already under
way in developing policy approaches and identifying potential projects, the
There will also be significant opportunities for shipping.
The rest of the global economy will also be transitioning to zero-carbon fuels
on the same timetable, and will need 18 times the current quantity of installed
renewable power capacity. Many of the most economical fuel supply sources will
be geographically distant from energy-hungry markets. High-potential locations
in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East - with abundant wind, sun or both
- could make hydrogen at great scale and reduced cost.
With an estimated 10,000 TWh potential for zero carbon fuel
production located near coastlines, shipping is in a good position to help. If
shipowners and seaports can secure enough investment to meet the transport
needs of the next global energy market, there will be a "huge opportunity
for return," according to Prof. Ulreich.
“Shipping will be a key enabler of the global energy
transition, providing cost effective and flexible solutions to transport at
least half of the net zero carbon fuels traded around the world," said
Stuart Neil, the director of strategy and communications at ICS. “A great deal
is talked about the global energy transition to zero emission fuels outside of
shipping. But what we have found in this report is that there is a tremendous
opportunity for all.”