The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has set sail on an ambitious journey, exploring the viability of hydrogen as a fuel for the shipping industry. In its latest report, titled “Potential of Hydrogen as fuel for shipping,” EMSA delves into the intricate landscape of hydrogen adoption, shedding light on its properties, sustainability, availability, suitability, and the associated costs and developments for marine applications.
The primary goal of EMSA’s report is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the potential of hydrogen as a marine fuel. While shipping has limited experience with hydrogen, the study emphasizes that the wealth of land-based experience in hydrogen production and usage can serve as a robust foundation for the maritime transition.
The report meticulously explores the properties of hydrogen, detailing production pathways, maturity levels, and ongoing developments. It underscores the sustainability of green hydrogen, with close-to-zero well-to-tank greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from water electrolysis. The combustion of green hydrogen in marine ships is hailed as a direct method to cut GHG emissions.
Addressing concerns about hydrogen slip, the report acknowledges the potential unburned hydrogen released into the atmosphere as an indirect GHG. Yet, studies suggest that even with hydrogen losses as high as 10%, the reduction in overall GHG emissions from transitioning to a green hydrogen economy would have a net positive impact on the climate.