MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has said it will further explore the viability of hydrogen and fuels derived from it as a possible fuel source for the future for container shipping, but urged greater investment to encourage the use of alternative fuels.
In a statement, MSC said there must be a “massive injection of energy and capital” into research and development (R&D) efforts to bring alternative fuels and alternative propulsion technologies to the marketplace for the industry to decarbonise in the longer term.
MSC said it is engaging with potential vendors to investigate new solutions that would help to minimise and one day, to eventually eradicate CO2 and other GHG emissions from shipping fleets.
The announcement came as MSC’s Executive Vice President Maritime Policy & Government Affairs at MSC Group Bud Darr outlined decarbonisation plans during a panel discussion on fuels for the future at the Maritime Transport Efficiency Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
“There’s no one single solution to decarbonise shipping; we need a range of alternative fuels at scale and we need them urgently,” said Darr.
“The future of shipping and decarbonisation will rely on strong partnerships from both the perspective of technology collaboration and procurement.”
In support of the UN International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) policy goals to decarbonize shipping, MSC said it is actively exploring and trialling a range of alternative fuels and technologies and is already actively bunkering biofuels at scale.
Industry partnerships could help accelerate the development of clean hydrogen for the benefit of the entire container shipping industry. Despite some significant challenges to overcome mainly related to density, volume and safe handling, MSC said it is in favour of further R&D efforts to produce it in “a greenhouse gas neutral way” and to develop it at scale, along with other fuels that may derive from it
Fossil-sourced LNG remains a transitional option, while carbon capture and storage, if perfected for marine use, could be useful, Bud told the conference, which gathered together a variety of shipping companies, fuel providers, academics, policy makers and representatives of the UN and Geneva government.
MSC said it is also pioneering the large-scale usage of biofuel blends for container ships and is already bunkering responsibly sourced, up to 30% biofuel lends on a routine basis in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Furthermore, the world’s largest class of container ships, MSC’s Gülsün Class, was fitted at delivery in 2019-20 with the option to convert in future to liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a potential bridging fuel as part of the industry’s transition towards a zero-carbon future.