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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

Trade with the United States: Council authorises negotiations on elimination of tariffs for industrial goods and on conformity assessment

Governments and non-state actors need to take urgent action to meet Paris Agreement goals

An EU Summit without purpose

Can the national and age groups pockets of unemployment cause irreparable damages to Eurozone?

An ECB banker wants to change the European social model

European research priorities for 2021-2027 agreed with member states

German opposition win in Lower Saxony felt all over Europe

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

Eurozone: How can 200 banks find €400 billion?

A safer, more dignified journey for all migrants, tops agenda at global conference in Marrakech

Liaison Officer – 2020

Draghi tells the EU Parliament his relaxed policies are here to stay

‘Virginity testing’: a human rights violation, with no scientific basis – UN

EU: Centralised economic governance and bank supervision may lead to new crisis

FROM THE FIELD: A mountain of indigenous knowledge in Peru

Urgently address ‘defining challenges of our time’, to empower youth worldwide, top UN official tells forum

Yemen: ‘A great first step’ UN declares as aid team accesses grain silo which can feed millions

Somalis ‘will not be deterred’ by Friday’s terror attacks – UN chief

Nuclear non-proliferation treaty an ‘essential pillar’ of international peace, says UN chief

Stability in Europe has no chances because of Ukraine

European Banking Union: no one is perfect

CEOs as activists: should leaders speak up about social causes?

Cyprus President urges collective leadership to address ‘root causes’ of world’s crises

Climate change helped destroy these four ancient civilisations

EU to Google: How to dismantle European search engines in 13 steps

Alcohol abuse kills three million people a year, most of them men – WHO report

GSMA Mobile 360 Series – Europe – 14 June 2016

How energy infrastructure is shaping geopolitics in East Asia

Who is to lose from the 6-month extension of the EU economic sanctions against Russia?

MEPs spell out priorities for the European Central Bank and on banking union

The increasing drug prices in Europe

5 ways students can graduate fully qualified for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

EU shapes its ambitious strategy on India

EU leads the torn away South Sudan to a new bloody civil war

3 lessons from India in creating equal access to vaccines

Responsible Artificial Intelligence

A Sting Exclusive: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on South China Sea issue at the ASEAN Regional Forum

Brexit: European Commission publishes Communication on preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

Employers’ organizations work towards improving the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises

A day in the life of a Venezuelan migrant in Boa Vista, Brazil

Let your fingers do the walking

Stricter rules and tougher sanctions for market manipulation and financial fraud

Progress on gender equality is too slow, says OECD on International Women’s Day

Data and the future of financial services

‘Global clarion call’ for youth to shape efforts to forge peace in the most dangerous combat zones

Health Education, is it a necessity?

India can soar in the robot age. This is how

“China is the only BRICS country to have either met or possibly slightly surpassed my expectations”, BRICS inventor Jim O’ Neil from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

EU Parliament semi worried over democratic deficit

US Tariffs on Steel and Aluminium: Statement of Trade Committee Chair

“Leaked” TTIP document breaks post 8th negotiations round silence and opens door to critics

UN chief sends condolences to families of Malawi flood victims

Europe had a record year for Measles – and it’s partly down to anti-vaccine campaigners

Charlotte in Ghana

Password managers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Here’s why

Judges urge Security Council to serve interests of all UN Member States

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: Strategies and reflections

Your chocolate can help save the planet. Here’s how

If you live in a big city you already smoke every day

Progress against torture in Afghan detention centres, but Government needs to do more, says UN report

More Stings?

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