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'Extensive' Benefits Of Electrofuels For Shipping

A new report by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), released at the recent UN climate talks, has revealed that there are extensive benefits to be enjoyed from using fuel from renewable energy sources over the use of fossil fuels.

It was found that zero-carbon fuels - ammonia, hydrogen and methanol, known as electrofuels - can be produced to scale using technologies that are now commercially available. They can also be deployed at scale quite quickly.

These fuels are the most climate-friendly going because of their carbon-free lifecycle. They only take water, renewable energy and air to produce and they don’t emit any CO2 when used. Not only that but methanol and ammonia can both be used to ship engines with minimal adaptation required.

It was suggested that Chile in particular could benefit from fuels such as these because the nation relies heavily on shipping for domestic transportation and international trade. It also has one of the biggest renewable energy capacities in the world, with more than 1,200GW of solar potential alone.

The report noted that the shipping industry in Chile could unlock investment in clean infrastructure worth up to $90 billion if ships switched to electrofuels.

Commenting on the findings, director of international climate at EDF Europe Aoife O’Leary said: “Chile and other savvy countries could see rewards quickly from the influx of investments and job opportunities these green shipping fuels would create, and they would be positioning themselves at the forefront of an inevitable technological transition in the near future.

“However, robust and sensible policy that create economic incentives and that ensure the development of new energy resources is sustainable will be needed to support them and to make this vision a reality.”

Back in May, the EDF published another paper, Sailing on Solar, that identified green ammonia as one of the most promising of numerous zero-emission shipping fuels. Countries with untapped potential where renewable energy is concerned could benefit by setting up a green ammonia supply chain for the marine industry.

Production of green ammonia could, for example, be developed in Morocco, a country with abundant capacity for renewable energy. It also has big commercial ports near vital shipping lanes, so it’s well-placed to adopt a green ammonia industry - which in turn would help to attract investment for both green ammonia and renewable energy that wouldn’t happen otherwise.

The International Maritime Organisation, shipping agency for the UN, is looking into new policies to help it achieve its global climate goal of slashing emissions in half.

Mr O’Leary commented at the time that countries now must start seriously considering international policies to help drive adoption of alternative and sustainable shipping fuels.

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