LILLESTRØM, Norway: June 2019. Six Nordic companies that have formed the Zero Emission Energy Distribution at Sea (ZEEDS) initiative, are proposing an ecosystem of offshore clean energy hubs supplying green ammonia as a zero-emission fuel.
Smart technology provider Wärtsilä is leading the effort joined by engineering experts Aker Solutions; multinational energy major Equinor; engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) leader Kvaerner; ferry and logistics specialist DFDS and shipowner Grieg Star.
The energy hubs would be strategically located close to Northern Europe’s busiest shipping corridors capable of producing, storing and distributing renewable fuels to vessels in transit. “Fuel stations placed in a highly-trafficked area such as outside Bornholm or in Skagerak would become the infrastructure,” explained Kvaerner’s Kenneth Simonsen, senior vice-president Strategy and M&A. “The entire scheme applies known technologies but combined in new ways in a new environment,” he added.
“It could of course be scaled up to serve global trade lanes supplying the world fleet. The vision was to look beyond just ships, noted Wartsila’s Andrea Morgante, vice president, Strategy and Business Development. “We realised there was a lot of value to be captured in the logistics chain.”
The fuel hubs would be gravity-based structures in shallow regions and potentially semi-submersible floaters in deeper water, with the bunkering buoys either cemented to the seabed or floating in deep water.
ZEEDS’ focus on green ammonia as a viable zero-emission fuel is because it can be used on existing LNG-powered vessels without major modifications. But Margaret Mistry, Strategy & Innovation Manager at Equinor, said the proposal is “fuel agnostic” because multiple energy sources including hydrogen could work. Data calculations show each hub could produce enough ammonia to supply 65 vessels per day.
Chief business process officer Matt Duke of Grieg Star noted: “Knowing what technologies and fuel types will become available in the short to medium term is key for us, so we can utilise them to deliver on our commitment to sustainable shipping in an environmentally and financially productive way. It’ll be a problem for our children and grandchildren if we don’t address decarbonisation. We have to get cracking.”
DFDS project manager Innovation and Technology Sif Lundsberg concluded: “I don’t see black shipping in 2050. We need to change.”