Decarbonization of shipping | MIT Technology Overview

Decarbonization efforts come with risks, both environmental and economic, due to the vital position of maritime shipping in the global economy. About 80% of trade by volume and more than 70% by value is transported by water to ports. World. Maritime transport is projected to triple by 2050 as many countries strive to achieve neutrality.

As the industry struggles to keep up with growing cargo volumes, firms will face increasing pressure from regulators, partners and customers. Amazon (the world’s largest retailer outside of China) and Ikea (the world’s largest furniture retailer) have committed to using only carbon-free marine operators by 2040. Calls by politicians to decarbonise shipping are mounting pressure. Bringing maritime traffic in line with the Paris Agreement goalsThe Aspen Institute called on governments to take on ambitious fuel targets, develop new regulations and implement market-based measures to spur fuel innovation and technology.

Shipping companies are responding to the call with ambitious efforts to decarbonise and deliver the expected levels of service. For example, Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, has set a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 60% by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2030. 2050. The Getting to Zero Coalition, an alliance of 150 companies, is advancing the development and commissioning of zero-emission ships. 2030. The shipping industry must use all means at its disposal for rapid decarburization. Without action, their emissions will increase by the predicted amount. 250%.

Shipping companies are experimenting with hydrogen, methanol and ammonia as alternative fuels. Rising prices for conventional fuels could be the pressure needed to force operators to alternatives. The trend towards larger ships will also enable ships to reduce emissions per tonne of cargo. These solutions offer carbon reductions but are not enough to meet international standards. goals.

Batteries for auxiliary power, airfoiled sails to capture free wind energy, or even alternative building materials for containers and ships offer additional opportunities to reduce carbon emissions. Beyond these physical changes, data and digital technologies play an important role in the shipping industry’s decarbonization efforts.

Sensors can collect vast amounts of data needed by maritime industry to use to reduce emissions. Digital technology will analyze, understand and calibrate the details and operations of the ship to ensure the best possible efficiency. Sensors record wind speed, water flows and engine efficiency. Then, intelligent systems based on machine learning move the ships into the most energy-efficient sailing positions.

Predictive analytics can combine operational, geospatial and social data to build and optimize routes, minimizing disruption and increasing efficiency. Connected systems share critical operational and feedback data between and between ships to identify patterns and develop shared insights.

Digital twins enable shipping operators to understand the past, optimize the present and simulate future scenarios with digital models. Modeling and forecasting scenarios will be important for maritime operators to continue to reduce their carbon footprint. These are digital manifestations of data interacting with the physical world, giving operators a deep understanding of spatial relationships in context. Digital twins allow operators to simulate disruptions (weather conditions, port delays, route changes) to make decisions to reduce emissions.

These are just some of the digital tools that can enable the decarbonization of shipping. However, each example highlights the need for greater data transparency across the industry. The maritime industry is considered to be a digital follower. However, more than two-thirds of the industry uses digital technologies to manage ships and security. The industry now needs to use these tools and data expertise to tackle the carbon footprint.

Operational data and digital solutions are also vital to track and report on the many decarbonization metrics required by stakeholders both inside and outside the company. This reporting demonstrates the success or failure of critical path programs, provides ongoing support and investment, and will be increasingly sought after by regulators. Infosys’ Ecowatch solution supports organizations in these efforts by providing a digital foundation for measuring and improving decarbonization initiatives.

The decarbonization of maritime shipping is not only a responsibility for the environment, but also a good business opportunity and a necessity for survival. Most of the world’s companies have set goals for zero net transport load, and shipping companies need to provide logistics that meet these goals. Marine providers that offer such services can gain a competitive edge, earn higher revenue through differentiated pricing, and increase their market share.

This content has been prepared by Infosys. This was not written by the editors of the MIT Technology Review.

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