Henderson: ‘Apply energy efficiency technologies as much as we possibly can’

Using energy efficiency measures such as trim and draft optimisation, air lubrication and wind technology in combination with marine LNG can drive down shipping’s emissions by at least 40%, said Dr Grahaeme Henderson, Shell’s Global Head of Shipping at Maritime, during today’s UK Chamber of Shipping conference on Creating Pathways to 2030.

While Shell has been a first mover in the marine LNG sector, the energy major sees hydrogen as the fuel of the future. As other sectors such as road and rail buy into hydrogen, it will become ‘an available fuel around the world… and shipping won’t have to pay all the infrastructure costs,’ said Henderson.

Moderated by Paddy Rodgers, this conference session also including Nikolas Tsakos, President and CEO of Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN) Ltd. He noted that while ‘we like LNG’, there was uncertainty over the longevity of LNG as a marine fuel in the energy transition. Shipowners require certainty in order to plan investment, he said. ‘We are waiting for the people who have the technology to guide us.’

Cross-industry collaboration will be key in getting shipping’s energy transition delivered, noted Tsakos, and he referenced the way that pharmaceutical companies have worked together and shared information to produce vaccines quickly to counter the pandemic as a striking example of how an industry has opened up in order to accelerate change.

Henderson said that ensuring the operational safety of new bunker fuels will be paramount, as will their sustainability. ‘These fuels have to come from a zero carbon source,’ he said. He also highlighted that shipping will have to compete with other industry sectors for its future energy sources. ‘We will not be the only ones using the fuel – and I think the airlines will get the first choice on that,’ he commented.

Tsakos also noted that while there are multiple new fuel options, ‘we are down to two real engine makers’, which to a certain extent could serve as a focus on R&D efforts. If these players could work together, then a global solution could be provided, he suggested.

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes