Ruth Kelly to Urge Shipping Reforms to Cut Emissions

Ruth Kelly, Transport Secretary, is to deliver a speech to the UN International Maritime Organisation today, in which she is expected to call for shipping to be included in emissions trading schemes and more research into hydrogen fuel cells. The Minister is also expected to call for a reduction in ships’ speeds in shipping lanes. A drop of just two knots, from an average speed of 18 – 19 knots could save 5% of fuel emissions.

A report in today’s Guardian highlights the potential to develop new forms of storage for hydrogen, to be used in shipping to cut the emission of greenhouse gases. The Ross Barlow, a canal boat converted by a team at the University of Birmingham to run solely on hydrogen, breaks new ground in running on hydrogen stored in the form of metal hydrides. The project team believe that this technology could offer a solution to the massive carbon dioxide emissions from the shipping industry, which amount to 1.1 billion tonnes each year, projected to rise by 30% by 2020. Shipping accounts for nearly 4.5% of all global CO2 emissions.

Hydrides are too heavy for transportation in cars, meaning that the issue of storage hydrogen as volatile compressed gas or liquid remains for these vehicles. In shipping however, the heavy hydrides can be used to provide ballast.

The International Maritime Organisation