02 Mar 2021, 13:14
Charlotte Nijhuis

Largest German ship engine manufacturer pushes for climate-neutral fuels


German ship engine manufacturer MAN Energy Solutions is pushing for climate-neutral fuels to replace marine diesel, Christoph Schlautmann writes in business daily Handelsblatt. “Climate-neutral shipping has long been technically feasible,” Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Energy Solutions, told the newspaper. “We have set ourselves a clear goal. By 2030, sustainable technologies should make up the majority of our company's business,” Lauber said. In 2019, the world’s largest ship engine manufacturer joined a coalition dedicated to developing zero-emission vessels by 2030, together with the Global Maritime Forum, the Friends of Ocean Action and the World Economic Forum, the article says.

MAN is considering e-methane as a replacement for liquefied natural gas (LNG), the company’s chief engineer Gunnar Stiesch told Handelsblatt. E-methane is obtained from CO2 waste gas from power plants or cement kilns by synthesising it with energy-rich hydrogen. Other alternatives include ammonia, biofuel, such as used cooking oil, or pure hydrogen, Handelsblatt writes. The alternative fuels each require different size tanks, which can lead to problems when different ports need to have the necessary infrastructure ready for the respective biofuel, engineer Stiesch explained. “The necessary investments in port infrastructure are significantly greater than in engine technology,” Stiesch told Handelsblatt. The engineer said that the switch to climate-neutral fuels will not happen as long as marine diesel remains as cheap as it is today. “We therefore have to price CO2 emissions, and do so globally,” Stiesch said.

In September 2020, German transport minister Andreas Scheuer said the European Union must “continue to set the pace for clean maritime transport” in order to meet global climate targets. German Shipowners' Association (VDR) president Alfred Hartmann said for German shipowners there would be no question "as to whether this industry segment is part of a decarbonisation drive," and the companies would instead focus on how this can be achieved. Later that month, the European Parliament voted in favour of including ship operators in the CO2 emissions trading system (ETS) from January 2022.

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