Shipping sector leaders have committed to scaling up zero-emissions fuel derived from renewables-based hydrogen to nearly 11 million tonnes by 2030, sending a clear signal to the nascent industry.
December 6 2023, UAE – Thirty leaders in the shipping sectors – including cargo owners, ship operators, ports, bunkering companies, and equipment manufacturers – signed a Joint Commitment, organized by the UN High Level Champions and RMI, today at COP28 to enable the use of renewable hydrogen-derived shipping fuel this decade to meet maritime industry decarbonization targets. The Commitment includes important targets for fuel use, fleet development, and port infrastructure needed to get the nascent green hydrogen industry to scale.
To reach targets set out in the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s 2023 Strategy, adopted by 175 member states earlier this year, the average ship’s greenhouse gas intensity will need to be reduced by 86% by 2040. Achieving this requires large-scale and rapid growth in the use of zero or near zero-emission fuels, of which green hydrogen-derived fuels like ammonia and methanol will play a crucial role. Legally binding international regulations that enter into force in 2027 will require the use of low-emissions fuels.
As part of the Commitment, green hydrogen producers agreed to produce 11 million tons of the low-emissions fuel for use by the shipping sector by 2030. Longer term, a decarbonized global shipping sector will become one of the largest demand sources for green hydrogen, projected to account for approximately 15 percent of total demand by 2050.
To meet growing demand and enable decarbonized vessels, fuel supply and infrastructure must be present at ports on both sides of shipping routes, a fact that will require significant international coordination and investment. Ports and ports’ enablers have added their support for the Call to Action, committing to invest in infrastructure and safety projects to support re-fueling of ships with green hydrogen and its derivatives. Equipment manufacturers also joined as signatories, committing to support research and development efforts to further green hydrogen-based fuel deployment in the maritime sector.
Signatories called on governments to follow suit and support private sector collaboration with ambitious fuel standards and clean fuel mandates. To date, 41 governments have formulated national hydrogen strategies, many of which specifically address the shipping sector. Further action is needed to align and commit to well-to-wake emissions accounting, creating an enabling policy environment for verifiable low-emissions fuels.