13 Mar 2020 - Little attention has been given to greening ferries, which remain reliant on carbon intensive and dirty diesel technologies. Now that's finally beginning to change.
Controversy has dogged the shipping sector's response to the climate crisis for decades. The industry may only account for three per cent of global emissions, but it is routinely accused of lagging other sectors in its decarbonisation efforts and as susch is projected to generating over a tenth of worldwide emissions by 2050. Rules governing the industry are set by the UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which in 2018 agreed a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2050. But progress towards that goal has since been slow, with measures seen as being among the most effective mechanisms for curbing emissions in the short-term - such as mandating speed reduction or imposing tighter emissions limits - repeatedly kicked into the long grass.
In one area, however, solutions are within grasp - and they could provide a catalyst for change across the industry. Short-sea shipping refers to journeys undertaken close to shore. In Europe, the sector accounts for 40 per cent of all freight moved - a proportion that's set to increase, as firms seek to minimise the congestion, inefficiency, and air pollution that comes with transporting goods by land.
By nature, short-sea shipping is well-suited to electrification. Vessels are rarely far from ports where they can be recharged for onward sailing and ther fuel requirements of shorter journeys can be navigated using constantly improving battery technologies. But despite this low-hanging fruit, little attention has been given to greening the sector, which remains hugely reliant on carbon intensive and dirty diesel technologies.
Now that's finally beginning to change. Playing a lead role in the shift is the Danish firm Danfoss, which is turning its years of experience developing electric drivetrain technology for land-based vehicles to the marine sector.
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