31 May 2023
40% of the US shipping could turn to zero emissions solutions
UMAS is a commercial advisory service that has affiliated with the UCL Energy Institute at University College London. Hence, issued a report commissioned by The Ocean Conservancy that shows; the scale of US shipping fleet emissions and opportunities to decarbonize the sector with zero emissions solutions.
US fleet impact
In 2018, carbon emissions from all US-flagged vessels amounted to around 26m tonnes, approximately 2.4% of global shipping emissions. Domestic shipping voyages accounted for about 70% of carbon emissions from the US-flagged shipping fleet. Particularly, this presents a unique opportunity for US actions to effectively decarbonize the American maritime sector.
The report, titled The Maritime Fleet of the USA—the current status and potential for the future, says that more than 40% of the energy used by the US fleet is replaceable with zero emissions solutions this decade.
Note that, it estimates that 17% of the current US fleet’s energy demands could be substituted with electrification. This would include, for example; ships relying on battery electrification for short voyages or ships running off onshore electric power sources when in the harbor.
A further 24% of the fleet’s energy demands is coming from longer voyages than battery power alone can support. On the contrary, they could incorporate zero-emission fuels, such as green hydrogen. These technologies are already available and adopting them would require minimal infrastructure updates. They could happen within the existing renewal schedule and would not require scrapping and rebuilding ships ahead of schedule.
Existing regulations under the Jones Act provide the US with an opportunity to drive the decarbonization of domestic shipping and the adoption of zero-emission fuels and electrification. By already relying on US production, the domestic fleet can introduce new zero-carbon vessels as older vessels are in decommissioning stages or retrofitted on already existing schedules.
By transitioning the domestic fleet away from fossil fuels, the US could become a global leader in shipping decarbonization, says the report, and kickstart the international transition to zero-emissions shipping.