The green fuel to decarbonize the shipping industry

Elizabeth Smith

Eni and the multinational company RINA, based in Genoa, have signed an agreement with the aim of collaborating and developing joint initiatives to contribute to the process of energy transition and to decarbonise the shipping industry.

Particular attention will be paid to the shipping sector, where RINA and Eni will be able to exploit each other’s expertise.

Partnership for sustainable innovation in the shipping sector

More specifically, the partnership will develop the use of HVO (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil) biofuel produced by Eni in the Venice and Gela biorefineries and other energy carriers.

Furthermore, the agreement envisages the conception of initiatives involving the entire logistic chain of the new energy vectors. And, ‘the adoption of certified methodologies for the “taxonomic” calculation of the benefits in terms of lower CO2 emissions made possible by the new vectors along the entire value chain’.

The possibility of carrying out experiments and pilot projects will also be assessed in the area of on-board CO2 capture processes to help pursue the shipbuilding sector’s sustainability goals.

Sources of pollution from shipping

Maritime transport is a major contributor to air pollution in port areas and along trade routes.

Ships emit large quantities of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur (SOx) and particulate matter, which can cause serious human health problems and damage marine ecosystems.

Furthermore, shipping contributes significantly to global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Thereby contributing to the greenhouse effect and climate change.

Most ships use high-sulphur fossil fuels, such as coal and especially heavy oil, which are highly polluting.

These fuels emit large quantities of harmful gases during combustion, increasing air pollution. In addition, the use of fossil fuels is responsible for a significant share of global CO2 emissions.

Technologies and solutions decarbonise the shipping industry

The decarbonisation of shipping requires the adoption of new technologies and the use of cleaner energy sources.

One of the main solutions is the transition to low-carbon fuels, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) or sustainable biofuels.

Other options include the electrification of coastal fleets, the use of hydrogen fuel cells and the development of CO2 capture and storage technologies.

The decarbonisation of shipping presents several challenges. One of the main ones is the availability and accessibility of alternative energy sources.

Currently, the production and distribution of low-carbon fuels for ships is still limited and expensive. Furthermore, the sizing and integration of new technologies on board ships requires careful planning and considerable investment capacity.

Innovation and research for decarbonisation

The decarbonisation of shipping requires constant innovation and research into new solutions. Numerous projects and initiatives are underway to develop advanced technologies for ships. Such as hydrogen fuel cells, electric batteries and hybrid thrusters.

In addition, new energy sources, such as wind and solar energy, are being experimented with to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.

Collaboration between industry, government and research institutes is crucial to promote innovation in the shipping sector and accelerate the transition to a more sustainable fleet. Investment in research and development of clean technologies is essential to address the technical and economic challenges of decarbonisation.

Read also: Blue Economy: what is it and what are its main components and principles

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