Decarbonising Shipping

BayPaul

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Moving this interesting debate to a new thread to avoid being told off!
Cargo ships do not need to move quickly; if you want to move freight fast you fly it.
Off topic, but I can't let that one go. Absolutely not! Cargo ship schedules are vitally important to keeping freight out of the air and in the sea, which is a vastly more efficient place to put it. Some cargoes can move slow, particularly bulk cargoes, but the capital cost starts getting high (of the cargo existing and being owned by someone, but not in use). For container ships there is a reason there has been a shift of schedules towards faster ships - demand. Putting sails on ships can make them less efficient - a modern 15,000+ TEU container ship is vastly more efficient than a smaller vessel, but is far too big to make sails anywhere near viable - moving to smaller ships would be environmentally bad. The marine industry's future probably lies in biofuels for long distance trade
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How would moving to smaller ships so as to avoid the burning of diesel entirely be environmentally bad? I'm sorry, I can't see that as anything other than nonsense.

The real fix of course is to stop shipping manufactured goods and food half way round the world when it can be produced locally (including a view to eating more seasonally). Which, to get back on topic again (amazingly), is a benefit of building Class 197s in Wales! :)
Because it really isn't possible to go to 100% sail power - realistically it would be sail assist, not fully sail. If a large ship is 50% more efficient than a small ship, and the small ship could save say 40% of fuel through using sails, the large ship is more efficient. It takes months to sail from Asia to Europe, and the modern world requires goods to be delivered on a given date, rather than just 'when it gets here' which is how it used to work. Also modern crew would not be prepared to sign on on this basis. Our shipping lanes are also far too busy to cope with the vast increase in number of ships that would be needed to cope with modern trade, especially under sail, which means they can't go in straight lines. As you frequently say, 2 car DMUs on the WCML is a bad idea - the Dover Strait isn't that different! The largest cargo sailing ship ever built was France II - She had a deadweight (cargo weight capacity) of ~7000t. A very large modern container ship has a deadweight of around 200,000 tonnes. Whilst a modern sailing ship could get bigger, it can't get that much bigger - there are length, depth and height restrictions, A modern cargo ship is also basically a big square box, optimised for carrying cargo. This isn't possible with a sailing ship, masts get in the way, so capacity is reduced further.
 
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RailUK Forums

ExRes

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I recently saw a very small part of a TV programme featuring the Hurtigruten arctic cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen, at ~21000t she is obviously much smaller than a profitable modern container/cargo ship but I wonder if a hybrid like Amundsen is a possible blueprint for cargo, or is it actually already on the drawing board?
 

BayPaul

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I recently saw a very small part of a TV programme featuring the Hurtigruten arctic cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen, at ~21000t she is obviously much smaller than a profitable modern container/cargo ship but I wonder if a hybrid like Amundsen is a possible blueprint for cargo, or is it actually already on the drawing board?
The Hybrid Hurtigruten ships are more about moving pollution around - they charge the batteries at sea, and then run on batteries in very sensitive areas. Very good in its way, but not helpful for reducing carbon. A similar option is to charge the batteries in port from the grid. This works well for ferries on short runs, either to reduce carbon, or even go fully battery, as many Norwegian fjord ferries now do. The greatest range I have seen is Stena Electra, which is a planned newbuild for the Fredrikshaven - Gothenburg route - around 3 hours at sea. https://www.stenateknik.com/projects/ . This will need to charge 50MWh of batteries in 90 minutes in port - the large scale cruise ship shore power systems can deliver around 10-15MW, so it isn't that much of a step change to be achievable. Routes much longer than this, hybrid probably doesn't make much sense with current technology, though I can see things like short Bahamas cruises being possible as well in the medium term on batteries.

For cargo ships spending a week or more at sea, batteries probably don't help very much, and alternative fuel internal combustion / fuel cells is probably the way forward.
 

43055

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The Hybrid Hurtigruten ships are more about moving pollution around - they charge the batteries at sea, and then run on batteries in very sensitive areas. Very good in its way, but not helpful for reducing carbon.
Sounds sort of like Wightlink's Victoria of Wight which runs on batteries close to land and diesel out in the Solent. Whilst around the same size as the St Clare she is around 3000gt heavier which is probably partly down the the batteries onboard.
A similar option is to charge the batteries in port from the grid. This works well for ferries on short runs, either to reduce carbon, or even go fully battery, as many Norwegian fjord ferries now do. The greatest range I have seen is Stena Electra, which is a planned newbuild for the Fredrikshaven - Gothenburg route - around 3 hours at sea. https://www.stenateknik.com/projects/ . This will need to charge 50MWh of batteries in 90 minutes in port - the large scale cruise ship shore power systems can deliver around 10-15MW, so it isn't that much of a step change to be achievable. Routes much longer than this, hybrid probably doesn't make much sense with current technology, though I can see things like short Bahamas cruises being possible as well in the medium term on batteries.

For cargo ships spending a week or more at sea, batteries probably don't help very much, and alternative fuel internal combustion / fuel cells is probably the way forward.
Probably the same project but with a different concept image. Stena Line to order first fully electric ferry by 2025! | NI Ferry Site It seems that Stena Jutlandica on the route already has some batteries fitted in 2018 so can run off them some of the time.
 

Andy9gc

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From what i have read on the subject. The industry are looking at powering ships with ammonia and using shore electrical power to remove the need to run the engines while docked. IIRC reducing the speed of the ship even by 10% provides a larger % carbon saving but cant remember exactly how much.

Sails have been looked at too, the would most likely need to be combined with engine power but they would still save carbon overall.
 

ABB125

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From what i have read on the subject. The industry are looking at powering ships with ammonia and using shore electrical power to remove the need to run the engines while docked. IIRC reducing the speed of the ship even by 10% provides a larger % carbon saving but cant remember exactly how much.

Sails have been looked at too, the would most likely need to be combined with engine power but they would still save carbon overall.
What sort of reaction would happen that allows ammonia to be used? (One of the main downsides of A-level chemistry - you don't really learn about any "real life" applications and uses of chemicals.)

And ammonia is quite energy-intensive to produce, usually using fossil fuels; is there some sort of plan for "green" ammonia?
 

Andy9gc

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What sort of reaction would happen that allows ammonia to be used? (One of the main downsides of A-level chemistry - you don't really learn about any "real life" applications and uses of chemicals.)

And ammonia is quite energy-intensive to produce, usually using fossil fuels; is there some sort of plan for "green" ammonia?

It is suggested in the Climate Change Committee sixth carbon budget https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-conten...th-Carbon-Budget-The-UKs-path-to-Net-Zero.pdf on page 183.

''Our assessment of the shipping sector is that there is clear potential to reduce emissions to close to zero by 2050 though use of carbon-free fuels, for example through adoption of ammonia produced via low-carbon methods. Consistent with the emerging evidence (see the accompanying Methodology Report, Chapter 9), we assume that the vast majority of existing ship types and sizes can be retrofitted to burn ammonia.''

Ammonia can be produced using the electrochemical Haber-Bosch process (I have no idea how this works) which is 100% carbon free. IIRC it is very similar to producing hydrogen but it is lower cost and more easily adaptable to existing technologies. However it is still in development and not ready for mass market, still requiring scale. As it is right now it is still energy intensive and results in CO2 emissions which defeats the point. If it can be brought to scale at a reasonable price it will probable be the best drop in fuel.
 

ABB125

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It is suggested in the Climate Change Committee sixth carbon budget https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-conten...th-Carbon-Budget-The-UKs-path-to-Net-Zero.pdf on page 183.

''Our assessment of the shipping sector is that there is clear potential to reduce emissions to close to zero by 2050 though use of carbon-free fuels, for example through adoption of ammonia produced via low-carbon methods. Consistent with the emerging evidence (see the accompanying Methodology Report, Chapter 9), we assume that the vast majority of existing ship types and sizes can be retrofitted to burn ammonia.''

Ammonia can be produced using the electrochemical Haber-Bosch process (I have no idea how this works) which is 100% carbon free. IIRC it is very similar to producing hydrogen but it is lower cost and more easily adaptable to existing technologies. However it is still in development and not ready for mass market, still requiring scale. As it is right now it is still energy intensive and results in CO2 emissions which defeats the point. If it can be brought to scale at a reasonable price it will probable be the best drop in fuel.
Thanks
 

Andy9gc

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An interim step has to be biofuels. Use those for shipping and use electricity for railways.

It could certainly play an important role. But it will be limited as biofuel has competing demands from aviation and heavy transport. Also worth mentioning the demand pressure on food systems.
 

GRALISTAIR

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It could certainly play an important role. But it will be limited as biofuel has competing demands from aviation and heavy transport. Also worth mentioning the demand pressure on food systems.
Ok as long as those competing demands don’t have a further competitor in railways. Railways should be electrified, heavy transport shifted to rail and biofuels used for the more difficult sectors such as shipping.
 

BayPaul

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Ok as long as those competing demands don’t have a further competitor in railways. Railways should be electrified, heavy transport shifted to rail and biofuels used for the more difficult sectors such as shipping.
I agree completely. There probably isn't a more deserving place to send a limited supply of biofuel that shipping, given the total reliance of world trade on the sector and the probable impossibility of using something other than a liquid or gas based fuel for long distance shipping. As you say, rail can become all electric /battery much more simply than pretty much any other type of transport.
 

ExRes

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I received an email this morning about the new P&O cruise ship 'Arvia', 185000 tonnes and 5200 passengers, yuck not for me thanks, LNG fuelled like her sister 'Iona' which is still waiting on her maiden voyage
 

Cloud Strife

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IIRC reducing the speed of the ship even by 10% provides a larger % carbon saving but cant remember exactly how much.
This is true, but at the same time, you have to factor in the cost of the crew too. It's not so much an issue with container shipping, but it's a major issue with passenger shipping.
 

BayPaul

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This is true, but at the same time, you have to factor in the cost of the crew too. It's not so much an issue with container shipping, but it's a major issue with passenger shipping.
Also the capital cost - you need 10% more ships to provide the same capacity
 

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