Decarbonization in the Norwegian cluster. The Polish BSSC ZEV HUB is on course

By Marek Grzybowski

Global transport is responsible for a quarter of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Over the next three decades, the global vehicle fleet will grow from 1.2 billion to 2 billion vehicles, the number of passenger flights will increase by 130%, and the tonne-mile of cargo at sea will increase by 35% – alarmed Remi Eriksen, President and CEO of the DNV Group during the meeting with journalists during Nor Shipping 2023.

In his opinion, much of the transport will be decarbonized and emissions will be reduced by about 40% by the middle of the century. But by then, transport’s share of global emissions will rise to a third, meaning the sector needs to get serious about reducing emissions in all aspects.

“In this journey to decarbonisation, cooperation will be the new fuel,” emphasized Remi Eriksen.

In the inaugural speech of the meeting of business leaders, the President of DNV emphasized that participation in the energy transformation is an opportunity for the industry. And with road, air and sea transport accounting for 25% of energy-related CO2 emissions worldwide, the industries involved in these transport modes have a great opportunity to participate in this modernization.

Electricity is a priority

– The transition to electricity supply should be a priority – emphasized Remi Eriksen and argued that electricity can be relatively easily decarbonised. In his opinion, this goal can be achieved in 90% by 2050.

What can be electrified will also become cheaper by sourcing electricity from renewable sources. Not all modes of transport can be fully converted to electric power. In his opinion, this applies especially to shipping. The electrification of shipping will be possible in handling port operations and short sea shipping.

It is worth emphasizing that this area of activity has already been joined by Polish companies from the shipbuilding industry. Polish shipyards are developing hybrid or electric ferries, and companies operating in their vicinity are able to carry out projects and carry out tests and certification of zero-emission vessels. This was recently proved by a meeting of representatives of Polish enterprises with Norwegian companies from BlueMaritime Cluster operating in the ZEVInnovation Project.

Polish hub in Norway

A group of Polish representatives went in a team operating as part of the zero-emission ship production hub, headed by Jacek Milewski, CFO, board member of the CRIST shipyard. It also included representatives of StoGda (Zbigniew Cwalina and Wojciech Caban), ASE Technology Group (Julia Jachowicz and Mateusz Cieśluk), Arkadiusz Marat, by the management board of Elmech, and Sebastian Bielicki from the Ship Technology Centre. In addition to representatives of Polish companies from the Baltic Sea and Space Cluster, the meeting was attended by companies from the Croatian Maritime Cluster centered around CTT Zagreb.

The BlueMaritime cluster was represented by: Hexagon Purus Maritime, Hyon, Corvus Energy, Ulmatec Pyro, NTNU, Anda-Olsen, ACEL, Maritime Partner, STADT, Kongsberg Maritime, GCE Blue Maritime. The cluster operating in Aalesund is one of the leading clusters implementing innovations in maritime industries in Europe.

– More than a year ago, we launched the New Blue Deal, in which we strive to become the world’s first emission-free maritime cluster – said Daniel Garden, CEO of the Blue Maritime cluster. He emphasized that many entities around the world are looking for new, green, alternative fuels and energies that will propel the ships of tomorrow.


Norwegian New Blue Deal

– We are looking at new energy sources that must be low-carbon and zero-emission. It is important not only how we produce them, but also how we store them and how we create the infrastructure for them. In addition, we conduct research on energy consumption in ships. We study not only engines and generators, but we measure the total consumption of energy that goes to the ship and where we can save – explained Daniel Garden.

– Shipping consumes 300 million tons per year, of which 75% of consumption is HFO, 23% of consumption is diesel, only 2% is LNG and others – calculated Anders Valland, Gunnar Malm Gamlem from SINTEF, who during the meeting analyzed the possibilities and ways of choosing decarbonization.

– No illusions. The emission of harmful substances, including CO2, has been growing at an alarming rate for years. In their opinion, carbon dioxide emissions must fall by 60-70% by 2030 compared to 2008 if we want to achieve a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, said Anders Valland of SINTEF Ocean.

Alternative solutions are still being sought that will contribute to the significant elimination of fossil fuels in maritime transport. It turned out that gas could be an interim solution, as it is also a mineral. At the moment, the focus is on biofuels and hydrogen fuels.

Biofuels and hydrogen

Nuclear propulsion is getting louder and louder. Nor Shipping 2023 recognizes companies that have introduced various wind-assisted propulsion solutions to ships.

Decarbonization still encounters commercialization thresholds and a barrier related to infrastructure ensuring the delivery of alternative fuels at the right time and place and in the amount needed to launch a cost-effective marine service. Established over 2 years ago, Norwegian Hydrogen (NH2) approaches hydrogen solutions in a comprehensive manner, covering the entire chain of activities with technical and organizational solutions, from the production of green energy, through hydrogen production, distribution and bunkering, to its use by means of transport, including ships . We still have a long way to go to “hydrogenization” of transport, according to a presentation by Jørgen Kopperstad from NH2.

In 2022, we recorded hydrogen production of less than 125 million tonnes, of which less than 4% was produced as green hydrogen. Although large investments in infrastructure and transport are underway, these are not shocking amounts. According to DNV, the shipyards placed orders for 22 ships with hydrogen power plants, of which 5 ships are ICE units and 17 FC ships. The assumption is that the cost of fuel for these units will be cheaper than methanol and ammonia, but the CAPEX will be slightly higher, Kopperstad reserves.

Hydrogen on the course

Also, the president of DNV believes that hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives (methanol, ammonia, e-MGO) will be the most promising alternative for shipping using fossil fuels. And it should be emphasized that the first hydrogen ship operated by Norled on routes near Oslo was purchased with public funds.

“At present, the availability of alternative fuels is limited and will continue to be, while renewable electricity will be prioritized for direct end-user electrification,” argued Remi Eriksen in his speech at Nor Shipping 2023.

In the 2030s, we are likely to see a significant increase in the use of hydrogen-based fuels, and by mid-century they will account for about half of marine energy consumption.

Partnership needed

During the meeting of Clusters in Norway, attention was drawn to one more important aspect of the fast transition of transport to alternative fuels. Erlend Redal, presenting the activities of AKP, the company that organized the meeting, drew attention to cooperation and partnership, which accelerate the search for environmentally friendly solutions.

On the example of the AKP, Erlend Redal showed the effectiveness of cooperation between science, business and administration. On the other hand, it was particularly important to indicate partnership in the search for cooperation paths during meetings between representatives of clusters from different countries. It turned out that the potential of companies participating in face-to-face meetings and teams fits perfectly into the program of decarbonization of shipping in Norway and the world.

The Baltic Sea and Space Cluster supported with professional presentations meeting under the title„Zero-emission technologies in the maritime economy”. The event was organized by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development and Innovation Norway. The event included study trip in the Port of Gdynia, and business mixer with Norwegian companies during the largest maritime fair in Central and Eastern Europe: Baltexpo 2023 in Gdansk. This was the next ZEV project meeting organized by BSSC, which included about 50 companies interested in cooperation in the development of “Zero-emission technologies in the maritime economy”.

The very important meeting took place during the INTERMARE SOUTHBALTIC fair and conference on April 21, 2021. The second meeting of the ZEVInnovation Project Workshop in Poland was held in ASE Technolgy Group in Gdansk October 12th 2022. The third meeting of the ZEVInnovation Project Workshop in Poland was held in CRIST, October 13th 2022.

The activities of the Polish hub for the production of zero-emission ships, coordinated by CRIST and supported by the activity of the ASE Technology Group, perfectly fit into the zero-emission program of the Norwegian BlueMaritime Cluster and environmental protection programs in Croatia and Poland. CRIST and StoGda have electric ships in their portfolios, and ASE has hydrogen refueling installations and energy storage facilities. So there is something to build partnership and joint projects on.