5 Ways to Cut Carbon Emissions of Ships


Global shipping is the sixth largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions after the United States, China, Russia, India and Japan. With carbon dioxide emissions from shipping off east Asia doubling in less than a decade, here are five ways to cut the emissions of ships contributing to global warming:

Use Cleaner Fuel
Carbon dioxide, black carbon, nitrogen and sulphur oxides are just some of the pollutants generated from burning ship fuel. Shipping contributed one billion tonnes of greenhouse gases from 2007 tto 2012. Using cleaner fuel is one major way such emissions can be slashed.

Tap on Renewable Energy

Alternative sources of energy such as wind and solar have already been used in the field to reduce energy consumption from fossil fuels. Since 2008, Japan’s cargo freighter, Auriga Leader, fitted with 328 solar panels, has been sailing withpart of the energy required for the vessel powered through the sun. More recently, Wessels has also developed a SkySails propulsion system — installed on its ships like “Thesus”, which harnesses wind energy.

Slow Down

Just as speeding reduces the fuel economy of your car, moving ships at slower speeds reduces carbon emissions considerably. Just a 10% decrease in the speed of the Earth’s global fleet of ships speeds can result in a 23% reduction in emissions, and Hapag-Lloyd has found that slowing some of their ships by five knots resulted in fuel cost savings of 50 percent.

Boats and ships can rely on charging stations like this one onshore to obtain electricity (Alternate Maritime Power)

Alternate Maritime Power (AMP)

By discarding dirty diesel power generators on board for cleaner alternate maritime power like that from storage batteries or cold ironing (transfer of electricity from shore to ship through charging stations), the main engines will be used less often and allow the ship to cut down emissions without complex engineering costs.

Increase Power Consumption Efficiency

Improvements in ship design such as optimisation of the hull and propeller as
well as waste heat recovery systems can reduce emissions by as much as  five percent per ship.

For all things mobile, check out the rest of this article in our special issue on the Environment (Asian Geographic No.134 Issue 1/2019 ) here or download a digital copy here


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