Green Trends in Shipping
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Recognized as a key stimulator, facilitating trading efficiency and a crucial segment to spur the world economic growth, the shipping industry is now ready to go green. The sector is already under tremendous pressure to keep a check on its noxious venting, including sulfur and carbon dioxide emissions. One of the major reasons that is pushing organizations to invest in the development and adoption of green technologies in the marine sector, is the approaching enforcement of IMO's stricter regulations by 2020, which are aimed towards making the shipping industry more environment-friendly.
Viable Green Technologies and Options for the Shipping Industry:
Energy Sails Technology: With feasibility tests underway on multiple ships belonging to Hisafuku Kisen’s Fleet, few reports suggest that 2019 may become the year to witness the first ship sailing on renewable solar and wind energy sources. The Energy Sails technology developed by Japan’s Eco-Marine Power as a part of the Aquarius Marine Renewable Energy Project is all set to equip ships with advanced integrated systems of rigid sails, marine-grade solar panels, energy storage modules and marine computers. The Energy Sails will also allow ships to collect and store energy even when anchored.
Fuel Cells or Batteries: The main task of fuel-cells or batteries is to convert fuel to electricity. These advanced cells use the chemical energy of hydrogen or any other fuel to efficiently produce clean electricity - that too without any emissions. The conversion efficiency of the fuel cells is approximately 60%, while the traditional reciprocating engines only reach up to 35-40% conversion rate. At present, ship-building companies are deeply engaged in developing hybrid and electric-ships that will be equipped with battery-powered engines.
Adopting Better Scrubbers: Scrubbers are utilized to scrub out SOx emissions along with removing some particulates. In the present time, the scrubber technology has upgraded itself and hybrid systems with open-loop and closed-loop characteristics are providing a viable and cost-effective option to organizations.
Smart Ships: Tremendous investment is being made to evolve ship-designs to make them smart, energy-saving and environment-friendly. With collaborations like Yara and Kongsberg developing a self-driving container ship that produces zero emissions, there remains no doubt that the future belongs to smart-ships.
Emissions Calculator: The Emissions Calculator has been introduced by Panama Canal Authority and is being considered the most accurate tool to assess the carbon emissions. The utilization Emissions Calculator aims to encourage shipping companies to decrease the environment-damaging effects caused by ships.
Apart from these options, shipping organizations are also keeping a hawk’s eye on the alternative fuels that can prove beneficial in reducing the harmful impact on the environment.
In addition to the shipping sector, the rising environmental awareness has penetrated into the logistics sector too which is witnessing a ‘Green Logistics' makeover directed to harmonize the activities and operations within supply chain management in a way that causes the least damage to the environment. With International legislations being introduced rapidly across the globe to reduce environmental hazards, organizations are becoming more environment-conscious and at the same time trying to maintain the operational and economic efficiency of the sector. In terms of technology, ways to develop highly-advanced recycling procedures, data collection, and tools to monitor, plan and manage environmental objectives are being explored.
All in all, with terms like ‘Green Technology', ‘Green Logistics', ‘Green Transportation' becoming catchphrases within industrial sectors, it will be interesting to watch the changing paradigms and greater developments hailing greener waves across key sectors of the global transportation nexus.