- The shipping industry contributes 3-4% of global greenhouse gas emissions and coupled with volatile oil prices, alternative fuels are an attractive proposition.
- US based Solazyme has developed one such substitute – fast growing crop and forest waste fed algae that produce oil in fermentation tanks.
- The world’s two largest shipping fleets and consequently foremost consumers of highly polluting bunker fuel have begun running test ships in what will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% through CO2 sequestration by the algae and a reduction in emissions when burned. One operator is aiming for 10% of its fleet to be powered by algal derived fuel by 2020.
- This could indicate the start of a major shift away from the provision of energy by fossil fuels which would serve as a blueprint for other operators within the shipping industry.
Widespread adoption could serve to cut emissions significantly. However, government may wish to balance the benefits of widespread adoption with issues regarding feedstock availability. Land use and CO2 emissions throughout the feed-stock supply chain may need consideration.
For more information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/7l26on9