New report highlights scale of shipping’s renewable challenge

The scale of shipping’s green transition has been put into sharp relief with new data from Germany’s University of Applied Sciences showing the global shipping industry will require the equivalent of the world’s entire current renewable energy demand in order to replace fossil fuel use.

Fuelling the Fourth Propulsion Revolution, authored by Professor Dr Stefan Ulreich and commissioned by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), shows that to reach the industry’s 2050 net-zero goal, shipping’s fuel needs would require electricity from renewable sources to increase by up to 3,000 TWh – the equivalent of the entire world’s current renewable energy production.

It also found that to achieve the International Energy Agency’s net-zero emissions by 2050 scenario, the world would need an 18-fold increase in existing renewable production capacity.

The report identified the first movers who are looking to seize these investment opportunities, including Germany, Algeria, and Chile, who have signed multiple bilateral agreements on the production of hydrogen fuels.

Ulreich, the report’s author, commented: “Shipping must be part of wider energy transition negotiations, and shipping and ports are going to need investment. But with this investment comes huge opportunity for return.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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