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Are Greener Solutions Possible for the Shipping Industry in the Future?

As trade has dramatically increased, the need to reduce emissions from burning fuel has become a leading global problem for the maritime shipping industry.

Almost 70% of gases and particles emitted by the exhaust of ships occur within 400 kilometers of the coastline, causing air quality problems, which affects the local coast’s climate health from heavy shipping traffic. Significant reductions are necessary to offset the increase in emissions due to the expected growth in seaborne trade.

There are many solutions at hand to reduce emissions from ships. For energy efficiency and cutting the emissions, new types of ships being worked on in the industry. Some examples of those new types of ships as follows:

Wind-Assisted Propulsion Ships

1. Rotor Sails

Large rotating cylinders mounted on the ship’s deck. When the wind blows, the rotor sails generate thrust, assisting the main engines.

2. Kite Sails

Tethered kites that capture wind energy and provide additional propulsion.

3. Flettner Rotors

Vertical spinning cylinders that create lift due to the Magnus effect, propelling the ship forward.

Several shipping lines are working on these greener, next-generation ships.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL)’s Wind Challenger, Scandlines Gedser-Rostock, Mitsubishi Corporation currently working on various projects to improve and adapt wind-assisted ships in the shipping industry.

Hybrid and Electric Ships

Hybrid ships are another solution. They combine conventional engines with electric propulsion systems. They can switch between different power sources (e.g., diesel generators and batteries).

Wärtsilä (Finland), Siemens AG (Germany) are currently working on hybrid ships. Siemens AG put world’s first electrically powered boat for fish farming into operation in Norway.

Ammonia-Fueled Ships

Ammonia is a potential zero-emission fuel for ships. It can be produced from renewable energy sources.

Yara International, in collaboration with North Sea Container Line, is realizing the world’s first clean ammonia-powered container ship named Yara Eyde.


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