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New e-fuels project to make international shipping climate neutral

Transport and trade must be made much greener, and that is the goal of the new €17 million European GAMMA project, where companies and researchers from Europe will develop and convert a bulk carrier to operate on climate-neutral fuels and green power.

A 60,000dwt bulk carrier from TOPIC Fleet is being used as the case study for the new EU project GAMMA. Ocean freight transport requires large amounts of fuel, mainly fossil fuels. The GAMMA project began in January 2024, and includes a wide range of partners now working to change that.

The GAMMA project to convert international shipping will see the retrofitting of a bulk carrier with highly innovative technologies and during a demonstration campaign will prove that it is possible to replace auxiliary generators with a new fuel system that runs on e-fuels.

After proving the concept, the next step would be to replace the main engines of a ship for a full energy transition.

Long-distance maritime transport supports 80-90 per cent of all global trade. Therefore, there will be considerable potential for climate-beneficial reductions in converting ocean-going transportation to green fuels.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has set a goal for the maritime sector to reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions to around net-zero by 2050.

The five-year GAMMA project will contribute to this, say representatives from the start-up company Aurelia, which specialises in the concept design of climate-friendly vessels.

An innovative fuel system will be installed. Ammonia and green methanol will be bunkered onto the ship and then converted into hydrogen with cracker and reformer technologies.

The hydrogen will be purified and then converted into electricity with a fuel cell, which will be providing electric energy to the vessel and thus replacing the use of the auxiliary generators running on fossil fuel.

Ships Montly - January 2024

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