Green hydrogen ‘comes back to the future’

Green hydrogen as a source of fuel can be essential for decarbonizing the transport sector, especially for covering the limitations of electric solutions and other clean energies, since it is found easily and thanks to the increase of research projects worldwide, green H is getting cheaper.

Anthony-Rampersad_Unsplash_Green Hydrogen

What is ‘Green Hydrogen’?

Green Hydrogen is a source of energy that has no colour, no odour or taste, is abundant and it does not emit any carbon dioxide emissions when used to power fuel cells.

There are different types of hydrogen and every type has its characteristics; they’re essentially colour codes, used within the energy industry to mark each type of hydrogen.It can be grey, blue, green, brown and even yellow and pink, depending on the type of products used, different colours are assigned to the hydrogen.

As the iconic movie trilogy of the mid-’80s “Back to the future” predicted, we can say that hydrogen “comes back to the future”.

Many factors make this raw material so appealing as a great alternative in comparison to electric and carbon fuels. And especially, now is the time to incentivise green fuels as the need for decarbonising the planet is one of the goals that countries around the world have set for 2050, especially the European Union.

How does Green Hydrogen work?

As explained before, hydrogen has no colour, but the name of the colour is given by the type of waste in the production process. Grey and blue come from fossil fuels that generate CO2, and the resulting emissions are captured, stored and not released into the atmosphere. Pink hydrogen comes through electrolysis powered by nuclear energy, yellow is a relatively new phrase for hydrogen made through electrolysis using solar power. Brown hydrogen is made using black coal or lignite (brown coal), these black and brown hydrogen are the opposite of green hydrogen in the hydrogen spectrum and the most environmentally damaging – whereas green hydrogen does not generate any emission neither in the production process nor the combustion.

Green Hydrogen is produced with no harmful greenhouse gas emissions and is generated by using clean electricity from surplus renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, to electrolyse water. Electrolysers use an electrochemical reaction to split water into its components of hydrogen and oxygen, emitting zero-carbon dioxide in the process, according to National Grid information.

How can the transport sector make use of green hydrogen?

Since the transport sector represents the source of one-third of total CO2 emissions in Europe, it could benefit from the renewed attention on hydrogen to replace fossil fuels and meet the European Union decarbonisation goals. This way it could be a lead actor in the transport sector where batteries are an impracticable solution to substitute fossil fuels powering ferries, coasting trade or inland waterways and in rail applications.

Currently, the production of green hydrogen represents a small percentage of the overall, this is due to the elevated costs of production. Green hydrogen will come down in price as it becomes more common, providing an answer to one of the great challenges facing the energy sector. Developing systems to store surplus energy from renewables on a large scale, reduce Europe’s energy dependence, and cover gap areas since electric energy cannot be used in all transport systems as in maritime transport.

What are the obstacles to using green hydrogen?

So, can green hydrogen be implemented right away in the transportation sector? One of the biggest barriers to the adoption of this fuel for the transport sector comes from the low supply, since FC vehicles are expensive, although mass-production could reduce costs, as well as the difficulties of mass market diffusion in hydrogen storage. If applied in the current scenario of mass production vehicles for transport and fuels, hydrogen could reach areas where batteries and electric energy sources cannot cover.

Application in maritime transport

One of the major consumers of oil products and heavy fuels is the maritime sector, harming the quality of air, especially around ports. If applied to the engines of the maritime transport sector, green hydrogen could reduce not only emissions during sea navigation, but also those deriving from port operations.

In the last year, there have been some steps towards creating the world’s first hydrogen-powered cargo ship. Implementing this technology on ships, ferries and other coastal crafts could strongly reduce CO2 emissions.

Application in rail transport

Currently, it is difficult to electrify certain sections of railway lines on which fossil fuel-powered trains are used. Hydrogen trains are considered competitive for those railway sections that don’t depend on electric energy, with a low frequency of service and operate on long distances. These conditions are frequent in rail transport, making hydrogen rail mobility interesting from an economic point of view and an excellent opportunity to further decarbonise public transport, according to Enea, (Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile).

 

Certainly, we will see green hydrogen powering sectors that strongly depend on carbon fuels as companies and countries meet the goals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, especially in the maritime and rail transport sectors. This is without a doubt a comeback to clean and essential sources of energy and as the famous DeLorean from the film, engines will be using clean hydrogen to keep up the pace.

 

Sources:

The hydrogen colour spectrum | National Grid Group

 Hydrogen and “green transport” – EAI (enea.it)

Green Hydrogen: an essential element for decarbonization (cepsa.com)

Alternative Fuels Data Center: Hydrogen Benefits and Considerations (energy.gov)

 

Grimaldi begins the remodeling of the ferries that operate between Barcelona and Civitavecchia

Grimaldi has started the process of lengthening and remodelling the Cruise Roma and Cruise Barcelona ferries, which usually cover the route between Barcelona and Civitavecchia, in Italy.

The changes will ensure that the vessels will have a greater capacity for freight and passengers, and they will incorporate new improvements to reduce their emissions and eliminate them completely during the stay in the Catalan port.

At the Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo, new gas cleaning systems will be installed to reduce the emissions of their engines during navigation. They will also have a new lithium battery system to store the electricity produced during navigation and supply it to the ship when it is moored in the port, replacing the auxiliary generators.

The Countdown to IMO 2020

On January 1, 2020, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s rules on sulfur emission are due to come into force – a move which will have a monumental impact on the shipping industry.  

This legislation will ban any ship from emitting more than 0.5% of sulfur in its fuel, a cut of almost 3% from the current level. Therefore, planning for the implementation will be one of the industry’s biggest challenges in 2019.

In this exclusive insight, PTI has explored the reasons behind the new rules and how some of the world’s biggest carriers are preparing for them.

The IMO’s motivation is clear – the shipping industry, while invaluable to the global economy, is one of the biggest polluters in the world.

It contributes 17% of the world’s CO2 annual emissions and 8% of its sulfur output. The former could, according to the EU, could rise to 50% by 2050 unless action is taken.

This is because, as things stand, the shipping industry relies on sulfur-heavy heavy fuel oil (HFO) and has done for decades.

Estimates vary but it is believed that the IMO’s regulations will cost the shipping industry between US $60 – 200 billion.

Carriers have devised various ways of complying with the laws, which may turn out to be beneficial to business, as well as the environment.

The biggest has been a move towards new fuels, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) which has the potential to reduce shipping times and improve efficiencies.

Carriers have also been searching for eco-friendly innovations. Japanese carrier MOL, which recently merged into Ocean Network Express (ONE), for example, unveiled plans six new technologies in August 2018.

These included water treatment systems, sulfur scrubbers, LNG-fuelled vessels and even plans to use electric sails on container vessels, which it hopes to launch by 2020.

This is just one of the big innovations that the industry is looking at. Others include new hybrid cleaning systems, which will reduce the output of dirty chemicals, and even cryptocurrencies.

On December 5, the world’s biggest carrier A.P. Moeller-Maersk announced plans to go above and beyond complying with the IMO’s 2020 rules when it set a target of having carbon neutral vessels on the seas by 2030.

That is part of the company’s plans to achieve a completely carbon-free fleet by 2050 and called on the rest of the industry to “join forces” and find new ways of keep trade moving while protecting the environment.

2019 will be dominated by the shipping industry’s preparations for January 1, 2020. It has already inspired a raft of technological innovations which could become fixtures of the sector for years to come.

Source: Port Technology

EU Bodies agree on Port Waste Facilities

Representatives from the Presidency of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission have reached a provisional agreement on the proposal for the new EU directive on port reception facilities.

Ships will be allowed to deliver all garbage when paying a fixed port waste fee, without port-specific limitations towards the volumes delivered. This will guarantee that ports keep investing in efficient port reception facilities, which are to be supported by transparent cost recovery systems.

“This agreement is an important step towards the further safeguarding of the marine environment, the working space of our shipping industry,” said Martin Dorsman, secretary general of European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA).

“By facilitating all ships to deliver their waste to adequate port reception facilities ashore, the EU is showcasing how we can halt the generation of marine litter. This contributes towards the United Nationals Sustainable Development Goals to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds.”

Global outlook

Although the directive mainly focuses on European ports and ships entering those, the EU legislators clearly recognise the importance of ensuring smooth operation of maritime traffic between EU and non-EU ports, stated ECSA. The organisation pointed out this is demonstrated by the alignment of the EU legislation with the IMO’s International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which has been amended since the current directive was adopted in 2000.

“We are looking forward now to take up the work again which started many years ago in the port reception facilities subgroup of the European Sustainable Shipping Forum ESSF and are eager to continue the good cooperation with the NGOs, the EU ports, the EU legislators and the Member States in a new expert working group,” emphasised Mr Dorsman.

Source: Green Port

Mediterranean ECA bid needs Spain’s support

Barcelona City Council has backed an initiative to establish an Emission Control Area (ECA) in the Mediterranean Sea (Med-ECA) to limit air pollution produced by ships and is urging the Spanish Government to support the cause.

Alianza Mar Blava, Transport & Environment, Ecologistas en Acción of Catalonia and Plataforma por la Calidad del Aire have congratulated Barcelona City Council for subscribing to the initiative led by the CleanCruiseNetwork alliance.

The initiative calls for the Spanish Government to actively support the creation, as soon as possible, of a Med-ECA covering all major air pollutants, such as sulphur and nitrogen oxides, but also particles and black carbon, to support efforts in this direction initiated by France and other coastal states of the Mediterranean.

EU coordination

Spain is also being asked to coordinate with the European Commission, with France and the rest of member states of the European Union (EU), as well as with non-EU coastal states, to ensure the creation of said Mediterranean ECA and, subsequently, once created, to support the implementation of a cooperative cross-border management of the same.

Additionally, it is being asked to urgently implement the relevant measures in the Ports of the State to ensure the reduction of emissions from ships, forcing them, once they are docked, to connect to the electricity grid for daily operation, among other measures.

The establishment of a regulatory framework for ECAs in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the English Channel has led to immediate improvements in air quality of up to 50% since 2015 and associated socio-economic benefits valued in billions of euros.

Source: Maritime Journal

LNGHIVE2 Project to promote LNG use in Spanish Ports

A project which will promote the use of LNG as fuel in Spanish ports has been selected by the European Commission (EC) for funding.

The EC will contribute approximately EUR3m to the EUR14m ‘LNGHIVE2: Infrastructure and Logistics Solutions’ project to encourage LNG in maritime and rail transport, coordinated by energy company Enagás and promoted by the Spanish Govenment’s Ports of the State. The project includes the adaptation of the regasification plants of Huelva and Sagunto (Valencia) so that they can offer LNG supply services as fuel.

With an expected end date of 2022, the initiative will also introduce LNG in the ‘Green Railway Corridor’ between the Port of Huelva and the railway terminal of Majarabique, of ADIF, in Seville. In particular, the project includes the construction of a LNG supply station in said terminal and the conversion of a diesel traction locomotive to LNG.

LNG supply points

Aside from Enagás and Ports of the State, six partners are participating in the project, including the Port Authority of Huelva, RENFE Mercancías, ADIF, Saggas, Marflet Marine and Valencia Port Foundation.

‘LNGHIVE2 is part of the institutional strategy of deploying LNG supply points in ports and associated market development, promoted by the Ministry of Public Works through State Ports. Under this strategy, a Balearia initiative consisting of the conversion of five vessels for the use of LNG as fuel has also been selected.

LNGHIVE2 is one of the measures of the National Action Framework for Alternative Energies in Transport approved by the EU’s Council of Ministers in December 2016 and aims to comply with Directive 94/2014 of the European Commission, which represents a clear commitment to alternative fuels in the transport sector.

Enagás is currently also coordinating CORE LNGas hive, led by Puertos del Estado.

Source: Green Port

IMO adopts carriage ban on high-sulphur fuel

Ships without scrubbers will be unable to carry fuel with a sulphur content higher than 0.5% from March 2020 after the move was adopted by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) last week.

The move is seen as a key step in improving the enforceability of IMO’s global sulphur cap (to be implemented from 1 January 2020), meaning that ships will not be able to carry non-compliant fuel unless they have the means to comply with the sulphur limit. It is just one of several measures supporting the new sulphur regulations to have been agreed at the seventy-third sitting of MEPC.

The committee also approved guidance on ship implementation planning as part of a set of guidelines being developed by IMO to ensure consistent implementation. The g guidance includes sections on risk assessment and mitigation planning; fuel oil system modifications and tank cleaning; fuel oil capacity and segregation capability; procurement of compliant fuel; fuel oil changeover planning; and documentation and reporting.

Further guidance approved by MEPC includes best practice for fuel oil suppliers, which is intended to assist purchasers and users in assuring the quality of sulphur compliant fuel. The guidance pertains to aspects of the purchase up to the loading of the purchased fuel.

A proposal suggesting an ‘experience-building phase’ to allay concerns about the safety of low-sulphur fuels was defeated, despite receiving some strong support. However, MEPC invited proposals to the next sitting (in May next year) on how to enhance the implementation of regulation 18 if Marpol annex VI, which covers fuel oil quality and availability. The regulation requires parties to ‘take all reasonable steps’ to promote the availability of compliant fuel oils, as well as informing IMO of the availability of compliant fuel oils in its ports and terminals. Parties are also required to notify IMO when a ship has presented evidence of the non-availability of compliant fuel oil.

Ship owner association BIMCO declared itself ‘very satisfied’ with the developments. “The industry retains a fixed implementation date, which is important, while we at the same time address the safety concerns,” said Lars Robert Pedersen, deputy secretary general. He added that the association would work diligently to craft proposals that will enable the shipping industry to harvest experience to reduce the risk of safety issues associated with sulphur compliance.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) welcomed progress at MEPC73 but noted that “numerous complex issues that need addressing urgently by IMO, both at the MEPC next May and by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in December”. A detailed paper has already been submitted to MSC calling on governments to better enforce fuel quality.

“In view of the enormity of this major change it’s likely there’ll be some teething problems immediately before and after 1 January 2020,” said Esben Poulsson, secretary general, ICS. “Many industry associations have raised legitimate concerns about fuel availability, safety and compatibility of new fuels – a particular problem for those in the tramp trades.

“But if shipowners can demonstrate in good faith that they’ve done everything possible to follow an implementation plan – in line with the template IMO has now adopted – we hope that common sense will prevail in the event that safe and compliant fuels are not immediately available everywhere.”

Source: Motorship.

IMO Toolkits to Tackle Maritime Emissions

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has published a new set of toolkits for shippers and ports, to assess ways of reducing emissions across the maritime sector.

The Ship Emissions Toolkit and Port Emissions Toolkit have been developed under the Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project, the IMO working in collaboration with the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) and the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH).

Astrid Dispert, GloMEEP Technical Adviser, has stated that the new guides will help countries seeking to develop and strengthen regulatory frameworks related to the prevention of air pollution, as well as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

Dispert said: “Both the ship and port emission toolkits provide practical guidance on assessing emissions so that a national emission reduction strategy for the maritime sector can be developed.

“The GloMEEP guides provide a wealth of information on assessment techniques and how to develop a national strategy, as well as links to further practical guidance.”

According to a statement, both toolkits have been developed through extensive testing and feedback, gathered from their practical use during national and regional training activities.

Both toolkits feature decision support tools for evaluating emissions reduction opportunities, including guidance for conducting a rapid assessment that generates both quantitative and qualitative information.

Dispert added: “Ports and shipping are intrinsically linked – as such, efforts to reduce maritime emissions need to extend beyond seagoing ships alone.

“IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI regulations on air pollution and energy efficiency are aimed at ships, but it is clear that for port emissions to be reduced, national authorities need to consider emissions from all sources, including cargo handling equipment, trucks – as well as domestic vessels.”

Source: Port Technology

European Parliament strengthens ‘polluter pays’ principle for ship waste management

The Transport Committee of the European Parliament adopted today the Meissner report on the Port Reception Facilities and gave a mandate to the Rapporteur to start negotiations with the Council to finalise the text of the new law.

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes in particular the proposal to strengthen the ‘polluter pays’ principle by discouraging the delivery of unreasonable quantities of garbage, including dangerous waste, for a fixed fee. This proposal will better protect marine environment by increasing the quantities of waste delivered at ports. It aims to make sure that ships deliver their garbage at every port call and don’t skip waste deliveries to save time. It finally avoids that ports have to pay the extra costs of delivering amounts of garbage that exceed the normal quantities generated between two ship calls.

“The Transport Committee of the European Parliament has clearly voted in favour of a policy that incentivises ships to deliver waste generated on board in the ports. It also encourages ships to limit the waste at the source by preventing ships to deliver unreasonable amounts of waste without paying for it. We believe that the text adopted strikes the right balance between efficiency and responsibility and strengthens the ‘polluter pays’ principle. We are very thankful to the Transport Committee for their very balanced position in what has been from the beginning a technical and complicated piece of legislation. We count on the rapporteur and the negotiating team of the Parliament to defend this outcome in the further negotiations with the Council,” says Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO’s Secretary General, on the outcome of the EP vote.

However, ESPO regrets that the Parliament decided to make rebates mandatory for green management of waste on board of ships. While encouraging ships to work on sustainable waste management, ports believe the decision to give rebates must be taken at port level. Rebates are generally applied to address the local environmental challenges. In some areas, waste pollution is a great environmental concern while in others it is air quality and emissions. Furthermore, mandatory rebates disregard the existence of different business and governance models in ports across Europe.

Ports Announce Climate Change Initiative

A group of the world’s leading port authorities have announced the launching of the World Ports Climate Action Programme, an international initiative with the objective of fighting climate change.

It will focus on a number of key areas, all based around improving supply chain efficiencies and cutting emissions. Signatories include the port authorities of Hamburg, Barcelona, Antwerp, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Vancouver and Rotterdam.

These will include accelerating the development of commercially viable sustainable low carbon fuels for maritime transport and infrastructure for electrification of ship propulsion systems.

The agreement will also concentrate on pursuing efforts to fully decarbonize cargo-handling facilities in ports, and research other renewable power 2-ship solutions.

Read more about cliamte change and sustainability in ports by reading a Port Technology technical paper

In a joint statement, the authorities of the Port of Rotterdam and the Port of Antwerp urged all companies in the shipping industry to reaffirm their commitment to the Paris Agreement, a global initiative aimed at combatting climate change.

Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, and Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the Port of Antwerp Authority, commented on the Programme: “The Paris Agreement has set a clear target: we need to limit global warming to well below 2°C.

“It is vital in this context to reduce the emissions generated by maritime transport. As critical hubs in the global maritime transport network, I am convinced that ports can make a significant contribution.

“I am pleased to see that international port authorities have taken on a leading role in this area, committing to collaborative projects that can further advance the decarbonization of the maritime transport sector.”

Source: Port Technology