The fat from your next takeaway meal could help clean up global shipping

shipping UN News

Sean Fleming Senior Writer, Formative Content

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sean Fleming, Senior Writer, Formative Content


Your next takeaway meal could hold the key to helping the global shipping sector hit ambitious new emissions targets due to come into effect in 2020.

Most of us are aware of the link between air travel and harmful emissions. By 2020, emissions from the aviation industry are likely to be 70% higher than they were in 2005, and the International Civil Aviation Organization forecasts that by 2050 they could grow by a further 300-700%. But sea freight is also a major contributor to pollution.

Under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (the MARPOL Convention), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is introducing new limits for sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions from shipping. SOx levels will have to fall from 3.50% m/m (mass per mass) to just 0.50% m/m.

According to research submitted to the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) this enforced decrease in SOx emission levels will have a significant positive impact. Were the levels left unchanged, they would lead to 570,000 premature deaths between 2020 and 2025.

In order to hit these new emissions targets, shipping lines will have to choose one of the following options:

– Use fuel with a lower sulphur content, including liquified natural gas

– Install devices known as scrubbers to filter exhaust fumes

– Switch to biofuels

That’s where recycled cooking fats and oils come in. Biofuels such as biodiesel, bio-methane and bio-methanol could achieve reductions in CO2 emissions of as much as 80-90%. Biofuels also produce much less SOx.

Lower speeds are good for fuel consumption rates but slow down delivery times.

Image: The Geography of Transport Systems

DHL’s shipping division, Global Forwarding, has teamed up with the GoodShipping Program, an organization that promotes the use of biofuel in the sea freight sector. DHL Global Forwarding customers can now select biofuels rather than fossil fuels when shipping items. In September, GoodShipping also supplied a small container ship with 22,000 litres of biofuel, saving more than 40 tons of CO2 when compared with standard fuel.

There are, however, a number of challenges facing biofuel before it can become a mainstream option.

The first is the question of supply. While recycling oils and fats is a viable option for creating modest amounts of biofuel, the output volumes are wholly dependent on supply. There is currently no robust, reliable global infrastructure for the collection and processing of biofuels that can operate at high volumes.

Some biofuels are compatible with existing engines. But dependably high volumes of biofuel would need to be guaranteed for shipping companies, and manufacturers, to invest in the necessary engine technology to make biofuel a safe, reliable option across their fleets.

Increasing supply could require food crops to be grown solely to be processed into biofuel, but that would put pressure on natural resources like land and water, and risks pushing up global food prices.

Also, there is no existing global supply infrastructure for biofuel. To reach critical global mass, biofuels would need a complete supply chain to be constructed. That includes both recycling old oil and producing oil from food crops as well as transport, logistics and storage at shipping ports all around the world.

These are all challenges that the oil and gas industry overcame decades ago. The investment required from the biofuel sector may be reflected in high prices to customers, which could make the new fuel an economically less appealing option.

In the face of mandatory emissions restrictions, the shipping industry will quite simply have to do something. Simon Bergulf of Danish shipping giant Maersk, told the BBC that fitting scrubbers can cost around $2m-$3m per ship. Yet despite the costs involved, many are opting to fit scrubbers to their ships, as this gets around any issues of fuel supply uncertainty.

Image: Statista

Making biofuels a more viable alternative could call for a series of government-level initiatives, including subsidies to keep prices depressed or help fund infrastructure developments.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Nagasaki is ‘a global inspiration’ for peace, UN chief says marking 73rd anniversary of atomic bombing

Predicting two more years of economic stagnation

Bundestag kick starts the next episode of the Greek tragedy

Putin becomes the ‘perfect enemy” for the West

This is how a smart factory actually works

This is what happened to CO2 emissions in the EU last year

From drone swarms to modified E. Coli: say hello to a new wave of cyberattacks

EU-wide penalties for money laundering: deal with Council

Empty stadiums and online streaming: how coronavirus is affecting the media industry

These dogs can smell tree disease – and could help save the world’s orange groves

How to accelerate digital literacy in the enterprise world

Defence: European Commission paves the way for first joint industrial projects under EU budget

Parliament votes reform for better European Co2 market but critics want it sooner than later

COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation of higher education

Regional competitiveness and growth: a Gordian knot for Europe

IMF: European banks do not perform their duty to real economy

This is the life of a refugee: the constant destruction and construction of dreams every day

Who and why want the EU-US trade agreement here and now

SMEs and micro firms sinking together with south Eurozone

New seat projections for the next European Parliament

New EU rules and guidance for a fairer online economy

Norway has successfully enforced its foreign bribery laws but faces potential obstacles

Facebook/Cambridge Analytica: MEPs pursue personal data breaches probe

‘Negative developments’ undermining two-State solution in Middle East

Brexit: European Commission recommends the European Council (Article 50) to endorse the agreement reached on the revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland and revised Political Declaration

South Eurozone countries threatened by rising borrowing cost and expensive euro

Forget 2009, this is the real credit crisis of our time

Schengen is losing ground fast revealing Europe’s clear inability to deal with migration crisis

UN General Assembly celebrates 20 years of promoting a culture of peace

Artificial intelligence: EU must ensure a fair and safe use for consumers

Historical success for the First ever European Presidential Debate

Quality coffee can boost local economies and benefit farmers – here’s how

It’s time to end our ‘separate but unequal’ approach to mental health

Prevent future crises and empower youth – now!

EU Commission and ECB rebuff Germany on the Banking Union

Afghanistan: UN condemns blasts that leave 8 dead at cricket stadium

How to turn Africa’s manufacturing sector into a high-tech powerhouse

Peacekeeping chief highlights challenges facing UN Police

The EU to fight cross-border tax evasion with a toothless directive

Greece bailout programme: Full agreement after marathon negotiations on debt relief between IMF and Eurozone

Food choices today, impact health of both ‘people and planet’ tomorrow

#EUBeachCleanUp: EU organises record number of cleaning actions worldwide

More women than ever are working in Hollywood, but men still dominate key roles

5 ways for scientists and clinicians to double up on healthcare

The Amazon is reaching a dangerous tipping-point. We need to scale solutions now if we have any chance of saving it

Brexit: MEPs concerned about citizens’ rights

Phone lines open between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and people are calling strangers

A European Discovers China: 3 First Impressions

Somalia advancing towards ‘inclusive and peaceful future’ for women, deputy UN chief

We need to rethink the way we heat ourselves. Here’s why

“The markets have moved on renewables, policy makers must keep up”, A Sting Exclusive by Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment

Why a global recession isn’t inevitable

Mind the (gender) gap: why we should stand together on inclusion

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Libya civil war, African displacement, global trade tensions, terrorists’ children ‘secretly detained’, and more

Whale populations are slowly recovering – this is why

Coronavirus: Commission offers financing to innovative vaccines company CureVac

Forest fires: Commission adds planes to rescEU fleet to prepare for summer

UN summit tackles climate change-induced threat to mountain water supplies

Why transparency in drug pricing is more complicated than it seems

‘Stand united against anti-Muslim hatred’ urges Guterres, after mosque shootings in New Zealand leave 49 dead

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s