New report of 373 pilot projects reveals highly collaborative approach to decarbonising shipping

May 31, 2023, Paris and Copenhagen – A new report from the Global Maritime Forum has identified 373 pilot projects globally focusing on ship technology, fuel production, bunkering, and infrastructure solutions that can immensely help shipping’s transition to a zero-emission future.

The fourth edition of the ‘’Mapping of Zero-Emission Pilots and Demonstration Projects’’– launched at a Getting to Zero Coalition Workshop in Paris attended by Eric Banel, Director General for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Aquaculture at the French Ministry of the Sea and others – has identified increased activity among industry to innovate and find collaborative solutions to decarbonise shipping by 2050. 

To achieve zero emissions by 2050, we will need three main assets. First, we need technology and in France we are investing in the ecosystem of innovation and trying to integrate the whole value chain. Second, we need a trajectory, a common path, that must be set at a global level; that is why an upcoming discussion at the International Maritime Organisation [MEPC80 meeting] is very important. And third, we need financing on a national and international level that can enhance technical collaboration and help emerging countries join the decarbonisation,Eric Banel said at a workshop reception where he emphasized France’s commitment to achieving shipping’s decarbonisation by 2050 on a national and international level. 

This year’s report identified 373 zero-emission pilots and demonstration projects, which is an 84% increase over last year’s edition. Notably, new projects have emerged in Thailand, Egypt, Malaysia, and South Africa. According to the report, identified pilot projects take a highly collaborative approach, with 70% of the identified projects involving partners from at least two countries.  Partnerships are growing between developing and developed countries as well and there is a global spread with some regions having higher industry activity than others. Most projects are based in Europe (56%), Asia (33%), and North America (9%), and the top three countries by the number of projects are Norway, Japan, and Denmark. 

Findings see a continued increase in projects focusing on hydrogen-based fuels with ammonia and hydrogen in the lead. Ammonia is the dominant fuel focus for larger ship types; ammonia-powered ship designs received most of the Approvals in Principle in the last year.  For smaller ships, the leading technologies remain battery technology, hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen internal combustion engines, and methanol. More mature methanol technologies have begun to move beyond pilot work to a commercialisation phase.

We see tangible actions from the industry that demonstrate their eagerness to decarbonise by 2050. It is promising that the number of zero-emission pilot and demonstration projects is increasing each year and impactful projects are being developed in the Global South. Now we need industry’s actions to be backed by an ambitious revised greenhouse gas emissions strategy from the International Maritime Organization,’said Johannah Christensen, CEO of the Global Maritime Forum.

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