Potential of hydrogen as fuel for shipping
The maritime industry faces substantive challenges, many of which are driven by increasingly stricter air emissions and climate legislation as its practitioners navigate a course towards decarbonisation. Among the broad spectrum of technologies and fuel solutions being considered, hydrogen that is produced with renewable energy (green hydrogen) has been identified as a fuel that could offer a ‘near-zero’ carbon solution on a well-to-wake basis.
While shipping has limited experience using hydrogen as a fuel and some of the key technologies (such as engines) remain under development, there is sufficient land-based experience with its production and use that would serve as a sound basis for the transition to a marine fuel.
There are some barriers, such as hydrogen’s low energy density (which would increase the storage needs onboard a ship), the cost of the equipment and significant need to expand the global capacity to distribute and produce green hydrogen. In the end, hydrogen-fuelled vessels may prove to be a more appropriate solution for short-sea shipping rather than deep-sea. By examining the current production capacity for hydrogen, the existing regulatory landscape, fuel storage options, supply and power generation technologies – along with techno-economic analyses and risk-based case studies – this study has identified the potential for adopting hydrogen as a marine fuel.