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A Prompt Decarbonization Pathway for Shipping: Green Hydrogen, Ammonia, and Methanol Production and Utilization in Marine Engines


The shipping industry has reached a higher level of maturity in terms of its knowledge and awareness of decarbonization challenges. Carbon-free or carbon-neutralized green fuel, such as green hydrogen, green ammonia, and green methanol, are being widely discussed. However, little attention has paid to the green fuel pathway from renewable energy to shipping. This paper, therefore, provides a review of the production methods for green power (green hydrogen, green ammonia, and green methanol) and analyzes the potential of green fuel for application to shipping. The review shows that the potential production methods for green hydrogen, green ammonia, and green methanol for the shipping industry are (1) hydrogen production from seawater electrolysis using green power; (2) ammonia production from green hydrogen + Haber–Bosch process; and (3) methanol production from CO2 using green power. While the future of green fuel is bright, in the short term, the costs are expected to be higher than conventional fuel. Our recommendations are therefore as follows: improve green power production technology to reduce the production cost; develop electrochemical fuel production technology to increase the efficiency of green fuel production; and explore new technology. Strengthening the research and development of renewable energy and green fuel production technology and expanding fuel production capacity to ensure an adequate supply of low- and zero-emission marine fuel are important factors to achieve carbon reduction in shipping.

Funding source: This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 51979060) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (grant number 3072022JC0305).
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways

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