Ricardo report looks at zero-carbon opportunities for key shipping route

Ricardo report looks at zero-carbon opportunities for key shipping route
29 September 2021

Ricardo report looks at zero-carbon opportunities for key shipping route

 A new report exploring the potential opportunities to adopt zero-carbon electrofuels for five major ports on a key shipping route has been prepared by Ricardo.

Establishing a zero-carbon shipping lane along the west coast of North America would simultaneously reduce emissions from the multitude of vessels using the route and potentially be influential in driving decarbonisation of the shipping industry in other ports and regions, says the report written for Ocean Conservancy.

Olivia Carpenter-Lomax, Principal Consultant with Ricardo and one of the authors of the report, said: “The shipping sector presents a significant opportunity in the transition from fossil fuels in North America. Often operating out of sight and out of mind for the general public, the shipping sector remains the backbone of the global supply chain.

“Its decarbonisation presents some unique challenges including long ship lifetimes, high energy demands and the consideration of fuel infrastructure requirements in various regions.”

The west coast of North America is an important and valuable route for the shipping industry with a significant proportion of the trade between the United States, Canada, and Asia – especially China and Japan – happening through or interacting with ports on this route.

The report looks at the opportunities for adopting zero-carbon electrofuels – green hydrogen and ammonia produced with renewable power and no associated emissions from their production – for Los Angeles, Port of Oakland, Port of Tacoma, Port of Vancouver and Unalaska, Aleutian Islands.

Olivia Carpenter-Lomax said: “Decarbonisation of traffic through this route would deliver tangible benefits and could also be a catalyst for wider decarbonisation of the industry as a whole. By developing and promoting zero-carbon fuelling infrastructure along this route, there is a further opportunity to drive the change across the shipping industry, leveraging the influence that these ports and associated stakeholders have.”

Zero-carbon fuels have an important role to play in transitioning the shipping industry to a zero-carbon and emission free future, alongside the adoption of improvements in vessel energy consumption and operational efficiency.

Establishing zero-carbon fuel markets in these ports and others like them could also support and future-proof the local economies.

Read the full report: Zero-Carbon for Shipping in North America

Watch the webinar video which discusses the findings. Featuring Victor Martinez, one of Ricardo's authors of the report.