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Big pressure to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions within shipping! Can Kelp help?

In our 4-part blog series about kelp, we have spoken a bit about the benefits of kelp and we also explored how some companies and countries are currently using the algae. Turning our attention to the shipping industry, here's a quick reminder about what is being asked of the industry in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions.

IMO (International Maritime Organization) has adopted mandatory measures to reduce emissions of GHG (greenhouse gases) within international shipping. This mainly refers to CO2 reductions (or methane gas, sulfur) .

The first goal is to reduce GHG by building more efficient ships. All new ships will have to pass a score on the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), all existing ships over DWT 5000mt (deadweight tonnage) will be ranked from A to E, and all will have to submit a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) showing how they plan to reduce CO2 emissions.

The implementation of SEEMP started in 2018 and follow up actions are being taken to develop a revised strategy which is expected in 2023. The overall goal is to achieve 40% GHG reduction by 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2050.

In many of our previous blogs, we talked about some of the following approaches shipowners have been actively considering and implementing to achieve their efficiency and sustainability goals:

  • Identifying and implementing solutions to equip the vessel with more innovative equipment to reduce CO2 emissions,

  • Applying approaches to slow steam the ship to use less fuel,

  • Buying alternative fuel (such as bio-fuel) to reduce the consumption of conventional fuel,

In addition, amidst global pressure to ensure collective efforts against climate change, many shipowners and maritime organisations have also been supporting and investing in global sustainable projects and partnerships, particularly those which actively demonstrate environmental gains.

So, what does this mean in practice and how can kelp help? Here are some examples:

1. In 2017, a Norwegian research team led by SINTEF Ocean and Møre Maritime AS (a ship design company that specialises in aquaculture vessels) recognised the potential, growth and benefits of seaweed farming, and they reported on the development of a dedicated seaweed cultivation vessel in order to increase seaweed production volumes and enable scalability of the industry. The below image outlines their development plans in support of their view that automation would be key to production upscaling.

2. In November last year, it was reported elsewhere that fifteen projects relating to seaweed aquaculture had been awarded €700,000 in funding from the Safe Seaweed Coalition. One of these projects focuses on research and development efforts to achieve sustainable bioenergy production through an integrated algal and oil palm biorefinery. It is thought that the development of biorefineries could begin to: replace existing power plants, support or re-equip existing biofuel plants, or present opportunities for entirely new facilities to process bioresources.

3. Another example of how kelp can help recognises the mutual benefits of a partnership investment between a kelp farm and an organisation striving to meet its environmental and social sustainability goals. Some potential benefits include:
Huge CO2 capture/ storage Increased ocean biodiversity Natural release of oxygen through photosynthesis process
Creation of jobs in coastal communities More awareness of the ocean, its hidden benefits and solutions
These types of partnerships present opportunities for rapid growth and transformation across many industries, including shipping.

If you have any questions about our blog(s), please contact us Our final blog in our 4-part series is coming soon. In it, we will touch on what we are actively doing in our quest to become a carbon-neutral company.


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