Adjusting the sails and slowing down could reduce transport emissions by up to 40%, according to IMechE report
According to a new report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, installing sails on freighters and moving slower could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping industry by up to 40% or more as time goes on. as technologies improve.
Air pollution from shipping has increased rapidly over the past decade, due to growth in global trade, and as most emissions come from international shipping, they are not included in countries’ reduction targets. individual.
The UK, however, announced this week that it will include international shipping in its new emissions targets.
If nothing is done, maritime transport could represent up to 20% of global emissions by 2050, compared to 3% today.
In its report “Accelerating decarbonization in maritime transport: a no-regret approach using wind energy”, the institution calls on the government to support the development of a demonstration vessel using retro-adjusted sails to help shipowners and users to understand the business case for how wind could be used as the main propulsion for freighters
“We need to use existing and emerging technologies to urgently reduce the impact of our global supply chain on the environment. Pursuing the ‘business as usual’ approach could ensure that shipping is responsible for one fifth of global emissions by 2050, ”said Dr Jenifer Baxter, chief engineer at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
The institution recently supported a feasibility study by Smart Green Shipping which showed that the emission reduction potential on a vessel fitted with fixed sails could reach 30% under the right conditions.
Slowing down improves fuel economy and thus reduces emissions.
The shipping industry is focused on developing alternative fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia to replace polluting bunker fuel, but these fuels will be at least three times as expensive and will not be ready for the market. shipping for at least a decade. The use of alternative fuels combined with wind power makes economic sense.
“The wind is free, clean, abundantly and exclusively available to vessels equipped to operate it. It decouples vessel owners / operators from the volatile onshore fuel supply essential in the future to energy constraints – and, more importantly, has the ability to immediately reduce emissions from the marine sector, ”said Diane Gilpin, Founder and CEO of Smart Green Shipping.
Recent figures from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) show that emissions increased by 10% between 2012 and 2018.
The shipping industry has limited plans to curb this growth. In November 2020, the IMO negotiated an agreement with the majority of countries, including the United Kingdom, which would allow shipping to continue to pollute relentlessly until 2030.
Read the report here.