Hydrogen and biofuels ‘key components’ of future fuels mix, says MSC

‘There’s no one single solution to decarbonise shipping,’ says Bud Darr, Executive Vice President, Maritime Policy & Government Affairs at MSC Group. ‘We need a range of alternative fuels at scale and we need them urgently.’

Speaking at the inaugural Maritime Transport Efficiency Conference in Geneva, where MSC is headquartered, Darr said that the future of shipping and decarbonisation will rely on strong partnerships from both the perspective of technology collaboration and procurement.

The company is further exploring the viability of hydrogen and fuels derived from it as a possible fuel source for the future for container shipping, and is increasingly pioneering the use of biofuels within its existing fleet. As’s sister publication Bunkerspot previously reported, MSC is already bunkering responsibly-sourced, up to 30% biofuel blends on a routine basis in Rotterdam.

Elsewhere, fossil-sourced LNG ‘remains a transitional option’, while carbon capture and storage, if perfected for marine use, ‘could be useful’, Darr told the conference.

Industry partnerships could help accelerate the development of clean hydrogen for the benefit of the entire container shipping industry, it was noted. Despite some significant challenges to overcome mainly related to density, volume and safe handling, MSC favours further R&D efforts to produce hydrogen in a greenhouse gas neutral way and to develop it at scale, along with other fuels that may derive from it.

The shipping company is also in favour of a proposal submitted to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to create a new R&D fund to support GHG reduction in the maritime sector. Highlighting the need for a ‘massive injection of energy and capital’ into R&D efforts to bring alternative fuels and alternative propulsion technologies to the marketplace, MSC says it is engaging with potential vendors to investigate new solutions that would help to minimise and, one day, to eventually eradicate CO2 and other GHG emissions from shipping fleets.

Rhys Berry

Rhys Berry