UK tipped to lead shipping’s hydrogen drive

The UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the government’s official advisory body, yesterday recommended it adopt a “net zero” goal for greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, including international shipping.

The CCC’s past recommendations, such as targeting an 80% reduction by 2050 (excluding international shipping and aviation) – have all been adopted, and UK environment minister Michael Gove has said he is in favour of the recommendation also being made into law.

Key findings within the report maintain the importance of hydrogen.All scenarios in the report include the development of a hydrogen economy for industrial processes, fuelling long distance road freight and shipping, and providing electricity and heating during peak periods. By 2050 the UK would need hydrogen production capacity of a comparable size to the current fleet of gas-fired power stations, the report estimates.

Under the Clean Maritime Plan , the UK has already said it wants its own domestic shipping sector to be “zero emission”. However, if the CCC’s recommendations are adopted, this expectation would fall on all international shipping calling at the UK also, driving decarbonisation faster than the IMO’s timeline of reducing shipping GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050. If the net zero target is adopted by the UK government as expected, this means that bunker fuel sales in the UK would progressively transition so that only carbon neutral fuels were sold in UK ports by 2050.

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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