MSC backs hydrogen and biofuels as green alternatives

MSC backs hydrogen and biofuels as green alternatives
Bud Darr, executive vice president, maritime policy and government affairs at MSC Group

MSC is exploring the viability of hydrogen as a possible fuel source for the future of container shipping and is increasingly utilising biofuels within its existing fleet.

Speaking at the Maritime Transport Efficiency Conference in Geneva, MSC Group’s Bud Darr, executive vice president, maritime policy and government affairs, outlined some preferred options in a speech on decarbonisation.

He stated: “There’s no one single solution to decarbonise shipping; we need a range of alternative fuels at scale and we need them urgently. The future of shipping and decarbonisation will rely on strong partnerships from both the perspective of technology collaboration and procurement.”

In support of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) policy goals to decarbonise shipping, MSC is trialing a range of alternative fuels and technologies and is already actively bunkering fuels at scale.

Fossil-sourced liquefied natural gas (LNG) remains a transitional option, while carbon capture and storage, if perfected for marine use, could be useful, Bud told the conference.

Industry partnerships could help accelerate the development of clean hydrogen for the benefit of the entire container shipping industry according to the carrier.

Despite some significant challenges to overcome mainly related to density, volume and safe handling, MSC is in favour of further R&D efforts to produce it in a greenhouse gas (GHG) neutral way and to develop it at scale, along with other fuels that may derive from it.

The Geneva-based company is also working on the large-scale usage of biofuel blends for container ships and is already bunkering responsibly sourced, up to 30% biofuel lends on a routine basis in Rotterdam.

The world’s largest class of container ships, MSC’s Gülsün Class, was fitted at delivery in 2019-20 with the option to convert in future to LNG as a potential bridging fuel as part of the industry’s transition towards a zero-carbon future.

The carrier is supporting proposals to the IMO by industry groups and associations to create a new R&D fund to support GHG reduction in the maritime sector.