Alternative Sources of Power
Under the European Green Deal, the EU has pledged to become climate neutral by 2050, with an intermediate goal of a 55% reduction of greenhouse emissions by 2030. Maritime transport, which has traditionally relied on the use of conventional fossil fuels, is preparing for a transformation to meet EU and international climate targets.
This has led to an increased focus on low-sulphur or -emission technologies, alternative or low-carbon fuels and other sustainable fuel and energy-efficient technologies.
Biofuels potentially offer medium and long-term marine fuel alternatives that can enter the market relatively quickly. They also offer the potential, if sustainability criteria are met, to reduce carbon output compared to traditional carbon-based fossil fuels.
The ‘drop-in’ characteristics of biofuels, that is the possibility to replace conventional petroleum-refined hydrocarbons without substantial modifications (and in some cases, without any modification) to engines, fuel tanks, pumps, or supply systems, may offer an immediate and cost-effective solution, for the existing fleet.
EMSA’s Update on Potential of Biofuels for Shipping report updates a previous study on the use of ethyl and methyl alcohol as alternative fuels in shipping. It looks at the full range of biofuels, both liquid and gaseous, in terms of current production capacity, storage-and-distribution infrastructure, and power-generation technologies. It also includes techno-economic analyses and risk-based case studies.
Anhydrous ammonia (NH3) has been identified as a potential long-term fuel that could enter the market relatively quickly and offer a zero, or a near-zero, carbon solution (on a tank-to-wake basis and in some cases on a well-to-wake basis) irrespective of the origin of the fuel.
While there is little recent marine experience with using ammonia as a fuel – and some of the key machinery technologies (such as engines) are under development – extensive land-based experience with the production and use of ammonia for the petrochemical and fertiliser industries forms a sound basis for increasing its use as a marine fuel. However, the toxicity challenges and related risks are significant and, while manageable, they will add complexity to ship designs (compared to those for conventional and other low-flashpoint fuels and gases) and will potentially limit the ships for which it is a suitable fuel.
EMSA’s Potential of Ammonia as Fuel in Shipping report identifies the key challenges for adopting ammonia as fuel. It has also identified a number of advantages that ammonia would have over other low-flashpoint fuels or gases, technology and regulatory gaps that would prevent its immediate application, and some incentives that would encourage its adoption.
The use of Onshore Power Supply (OPS) also commonly referred to as Alternate Marine Power or Cold Ironing, has already gained decades of experience, particularly with low-voltage supply. Other options for electrification in the ship-shore interface include battery charging, battery swapping, power banking and microgeneration.
Together with OPS, all these present technical and safety challenges to the port authorities. Accordingly, EMSA prepared this Guidance on shore-side electricity addressed to port authorities and administrations.
The EMSA Guidance on Shore-Side Electricity is intended to assist in the planning and development of SSE options, starting with project decision-making and development of infrastructure elements, definition of responsibility frameworks and construction of control measures to assist in operation.
The Guidance is divided into two parts: equipment and technology; and planning, operations, and safety. Both parts are presented together with a SSE/OPS Quick-Reference Guide, which provides a step-by-step technical guide for how to plan for, install, and use Shore-Side Electricity (SSE), with a focus on Onshore Power Supply (OPS).
Other Related Publications
EMSA Guidance on LNG Bunkering to port authorities and administrations
The guidance was prepared in close cooperation with the European Commission (DG MOVE), member states and industry within the context of the European Sustainable Shipping Forum. It aims to support port authorities and administrations backing the use of LNG as a ship fuel, as part of a joint effort to increase safety and sustainability [read more]
EMSA Study on the use of Fuel Cells in Shipping
The EMSA Study on the use of Fuel Cells in Shipping includes a technology and regulatory review, identifying gaps to be further explored, the selection of the most promising Fuel Cell technologies for shipping and, finally, a generic Safety Assessment where the selected technologies are evaluated according to Risk & Safety aspects in generic ship design applications [read more].
EMSA Study on Electrical Energy Storage for Ships
The report provides a technical study on the use of Electrical Energy Storage in shipping that evaluates the potential and constraints of batteries for energy storage in maritime transport applications. In addition, the study provides a detailed description of projects where pilot applications of marine battery systems have been deployed, both for Electric and Hybrid-Electric applications, with a focus on EU co-funded projects such as the E-Ferry [read more].