The Net Zero Journey

Net Zero journeyJohn O’Sullivan looks at decarbonisation in the maritime industry. Steering clear of lost revenue, restricted port access and negative social impacts.

Maritime transport is responsible for about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) on a par with Germany. 80% of global trade by volume and 70% by value is carried by sea. While crucial for global trade, ports create significant environmental challenges. The EU and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) are focusing on Monitoring, Reporting and Verifying CO2e emissions in shipping.

Why should we care? Carbon taxes, restricted access to ports, lost revenue and negative social impacts from pollution including air quality.

Upcoming Regulations

The EU has now included maritime shipping emissions within the scope of its Emissions Trading System (ETS). This is the EU’s main tool for addressing emission reductions.

Most large vessels will be included in the scope of the ETS from 2024. Big offshore vessels of 5000 gross tonnage and above will be included in its “MRV” (Monitoring, Reporting, Verifying) from 2025 and in the ETS from 2027. General cargo vessels and off-shore vessels between 400-5000 gross tonnage will be included in the MRV regulation from 2025. The cost of emitting CO2e is about to become very high for some.
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Negative Social Impacts 
Ports are often located near densely populated areas, and emissions from shipping could have adverse effects on air quality in nearby communities. Coastal city mayors in areas such as the Mediterranean are no longer willing to tolerate major air polluters entering their ports given the link to a range of health problems, including respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Cities such as Marseille and Venice have already taken measures to exclude the large polluters from their waters.

What’s the Solution? 
AQA (Air Quality Associate, Inc.) in South Korea has developed a Port Air Quality management system (PAQman©), capable of calculating the amount of fuel consumption and air pollution emissions by individual ships utilising real-time AIS (Automatic Identification System) and vessel specification data.  Information such as speed, engine size, load and fuel type is processed by PAQman and the results provide port authorities with valuable information about the air quality in the port and surrounding areas. By identifying the sources of the pollution, PAQman provides an effective tool, improving air quality without penalising less polluting vessels. Measures enforced in the port area such as use of low-sulphur fuel, Emission Control Area (ECA), Vessel Speed Reduction (VSR) and Alternative Maritime Power supply (AMP) can be used to good effect and the resultant improvements monitored.

Having a span of over 50 kms, the PAQman air monitoring system was initially deployed in the busy ports of Busan and Incheon in South Korea resulting in significant reductions in dangerous pollutants such as NOx,SO2,PM10,PM2.5,CO2. The ports of Dunkerque, Le Havre and Toulon are the latest ports to roll out this technology. PAQman enables real-time measurement of air quality in the port vicinity and allows the port to track its progress towards better air quality.

A Comprehensive Pathway for Decarbonisation
Air quality is just one element of the sustainability journey, with industries under increasing pressure to take action. A Carbon footprint includes purchased fuel, gas, electricity as well as the whole supply chain and use of facilities. NeuerEnergy provides a platform for tracking CO2e emissions of an organisation, comparing the impacts of a wide range of technologies and accelerating pathways to reduction. Initiatives such as green fuels, renewable energy, LED lighting, solar PV and heat pump technologies could play an important part in reducing emissions. Taking action to manage your supply chain and the users of your facilities is equally important. The platform has been described by leading analysts as “the most comprehensive sustainability platform that we have seen”.

Given the importance of shipping and ports for global trade and commerce, it is crucial that we take steps to reduce their environmental impact. NeuerEnergy and its partner AQA provide tools to help on this Net Zero journey.