The IMO’s 2050 target for greenhouse gas reductions heralds the start of a structured approach towards capping harmful emissions that will ensure a very necessary adjustment to shipping’s status as the world’s 6th largest emitter, were it to be a country. With UNCTAD’s Review of Maritime Transportpredicting compound annual growth of 3.8 % for seaborne trade between 2018 and 2023, the port industry must act.
There are many interesting examples of energy transition in IAPH member ports, many of which are striving towards CO2-neutrality in the long term to help achieving global climate goals. Ports are more frequently using renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and tidal power. They are also setting up possibilities for vessels to be refueled using alternatives to Heavy Fuel Oil such as LNG, methanol, and hydrogen.
There are a growing number of initiatives in the field of the ‘circular economy’, whereby port authorities work together with their industrial clusters to generate their own energy and give new economic purpose to waste products; one example is waste water being used to cool industrial installations, which can be deployed for urban heating purposes.
Another example in this arena includes the construction of a plant in the Port of Amsterdam which transforms plastic to diesel, with the aim of processing 35,000 tons of plastic into 30 million litres of fuel annually. This would result in a reduction of approximately 57,270 tons of CO2 emissions, as the fuel produced emits 80% less CO2 compared to regular diesel.
The Port of Antwerp has successfully tested the prototype model of a 3-bladed vertical axe water-turbine mounted in existing infrastructure of a lock on its left bank which produced far more wattage using tidal waters than anticipated. So it is continuing to explore using a further four within the vicinity of its other main locks by means of 3D design, Virtual Reality and computed fluid dynamics.
As an early adopter, Port of Stockholm has taken significant strides toward its ambition to reduce its own total emissions by 50% between 2005 and 2025. It has done so by offering port fee reductions to ships with reduced NOx emissions and above-standard GHG footprints such as LNG-powered vessels, offering onshore power supply at several quays, changing truck fuel composition, installing LED lighting as well as energy monitoring meters for vessels and buildings.
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Contact details for the IAPH World Ports Sustainability Awards:
Antonis Michail, Technical Director – World Ports Sustainability Program