Future of shipping fuel is green hydrogen and ammonia, industry groups tell EU

News from Brussels

Source: Transport & Environment, 2021-03-03

The EU should promote the use of green hydrogen and ammonia by ships as part of its upcoming maritime fuel law, major shipping industry players and environmentalists have told the European Commission. The FuelEU Maritime initiative will require ships carrying EU trade to progressively switch to sustainable alternative fuels.

In a letter published on 3 March, shipping companies DFDS, CMB and Viking Cruises, commodities trader Trafigura, and green group Transport & Environment (T&E) say green hydrogen and ammonia are sustainable and can be produced in sufficient quantities to decarbonise the industry. 

Biofuels, on the other hand, do not offer a sustainable alternative for shipping, the groups say, as crop-based biofuels emit more than the fossil fuels they replace and there will not be enough advanced biofuels. Instead, lawmakers must send a clear signal to potential investors to focus on renewable electricity-based hydrogen and ammonia when the EU proposes its maritime fuel policy next month, the letter states. 

Faïg Abbasov, Shipping Programme Director at T&E, said: “Green hydrogen and ammonia offer a clean future for the shipping and fuels industry. The EU must give them the investment certainty they need to flourish by requiring all ships carrying European trade to progressively make the switch.”

Globally, €1.4tn in capital investments will be required to produce green hydrogen and ammonia for the shipping industry. The European Commission should seize this opportunity to create new jobs and support sustainable economic growth - in line with the EU Green Deal, the groups say.

Faïg Abbasov concluded: “Unlike advanced biofuels, green hydrogen and ammonia can be scaled to meet the energy demand of the global industry. And even the largest ships can be powered by these fuels. It is high time that European Commission changes the focus from ‘quick and dirty’ biofuels to truly sustainable alternatives.”

The European Commission will propose its FuelEU Maritime Initiative in April. Shipping accounts for about 13% of greenhouse gas emissions from European transport. 


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