Shipping e-fuels could require 1TW of hydrogen production by 2050, says analysis

Meeting shipping’s demand for e-fuels could require 1TW of hydrogen production capacity and 2TW of renewable energy generation by 2050, according to the Global Maritime Forum.

Analysis conducted by Arup for the Global Maritime Forum said the maritime sector’s transition to e-fuels could support up to four million new jobs by the mid-century – double the number of seafarers serving today.

It said job creation would be seen across three main supply chain areas: renewable energy generation, hydrogen production and e-fuel production.

Read more: Why hydrogen-based e-fuels are on the rise

Currently responsible for 3% of global carbon dioxide (CO2), International Maritime Organization (IMO) member states last year (2023) agreed to end the sector’s fossil fuel consumption “by or around” 2050.

In meeting the target, the Global Maritime Forum said shipping’s e-fuels demand could scale to over 500 million tonnes by 2040 and 600 million tonnes by 2050, in a high-demand scenario.

It said such e-fuel production would require an additional 2TW of renewable energy generation and 1TW of hydrogen production capacity by 2050.

“For scale, these installations would represent a land area of around 93,000km2 for onshore wind, 31,000km2 for solar and 155km2 for hydrogen,” the report said. “This could require the development of land around the size of Greece.”

The report estimated the build-up of infrastructure capacity could need a $4 trillion investment.

It predicts renewable energy construction would host the vast majority of jobs – peaking between 1.5 and three million jobs in the 2030s before declining in the 2040s.

For hydrogen production, the analysis says jobs will again peak in the 2030s reaching mid-110,000 to over one million jobs.

“This analysis demonstrates the sheer scale of the potential to create large numbers of high-skilled green jobs, in this instance driven by a single fuel,” said Jesse Fahnestock, Director of Decarbonisation at Global Maritime Forum. “Many of these jobs will also be transferable to other sectors – further supporting decarbonisation beyond shipping.”

TECO 2030 CEO: Mountains to move in meeting maritime climate targets

© TECO 2030

Founded in 2019, few hydrogen fuel cell players have their legacy so deeply rooted in the maritime industry than Norway’s TECO 2030, having spun out of the TECO Maritime Group.

With a history as a technology and repair service provider to the global shipping industry since 1994, the Group, following the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) implementation for the industry to reduce sulphur emissions to 0.5% from January 2020, launched TECO 2030 to support customers in their transition to more sustainable shipping.

The launch came at a pivotal time in shipping. In another quick step to clean up the industry, the IMO in 2021 adopted measures to reduce the carbon intensity of all ships by 40% by 2030 compared to 2008 levels, ahead of goals to see a 50% reduction of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and a 70% cut of CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Agreement1.

Considering the IMO’s own Greenhouse Gas Study 2020 estimated that the 2008 international shipping GHG emissions reached 794 million tonnes in CO2e2, there is undoubtedly a mountain that still needs tackling.

With the first tranche of targets now less than seven years away, TECO 2030’s Group CEO, Tore Enger, told H2 View that although the targets are unlikely to be met, the industry has achieved a lot, and it should not deter progress…

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