Maritime Decarbonization Seminar Hosted at WMU

From 30-31 August, the World Maritime University (WMU) hosted a two-day international seminar on the role of green technologies and capacity building in maritime decarbonization. Over 70 participants from 35 countries gathered, as well as WMU students, to attend the event entitled: “The role of green technologies and capacity building in maritime decarbonization.”  The presentations and discussions focused on green technologies and ways of promoting global collaboration and capacity-building in maritime decarbonization.

Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President, welcomed the participants to the two-day event. She highlighted the importance of Green Technologies, such as those demonstrated in project CHEK, that are essential for providing the technical means for enabling maritime transport without greenhouse gas emissions. “The green technologies we see emerging today are truly exciting, with the emergence of modern energy saving devices, the harnessing of renewable energy, and zero-carbon fuels. It is my hope that this seminar will be furthering these technical developments by discussions and further development of green technologies,” she said.

Mr. Xiaojie Zhang, Director of the Technical Cooperation Division (TCD), International Maritime Organization (IMO) Representative of the IMO Secretary-General and a graduate of WMU, delivered opening remarks for the Seminar. He noted that the two topics addressed in this seminar are very important for the successful implementation of the 2018 Initial IMO Strategy on the Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships: Green technologies, and global capacity-building. “Green technologies, including Research and Development initiatives on low and zero carbon alternative fuels for shipping, are essential in providing the technical solutions for sustaining the maritime industry’s crucial transport work that facilitate global trade while achieving IMO’s commitment in phasing out GHG emissions from shipping,” he said.

The seminar brought together relevant stakeholders and representatives from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Union (EU) through support from the EU Horizon 2020 funded project CHEK - deCarbonizing sHipping by Enabling Key technology symbiosis on real vessel concept designs. Project CHEK commenced in June 2021 with consortium partners from the University of Vaasa (coordinator), WMU, Wartsila, Cargill, MSC Cruises, Lloyds Register, Silverstream Technologies, Hasytec, Deltamarin, Climeon, Yara Marine and BAR Technologies.

At COP26 held in Glasgow during the autumn of 2021, a clear mandate was set for increasing worldwide ambitions in greenhouse gas emissions reduction to move away from unabated use of fossil fuels. It also underlined the need for global capacity building and collaboration in technological development and implementation to ensure that the global challenge can be effectively addressed. CHEK involves the development of two bespoke vessel designs - a wind energy optimized bulk carrier and a hydrogen powered cruise ship - equipped with a combination of innovative energy technologies working in symbiosis. The project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships by 99%, while achieving an energy consumption reduction of at least 50%.

Decarbonizing long-distance shipping is the aim of the Initial IMO Strategy to fully phase out greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping before the end of this century. The Maritime Decarbonization seminar was in line with the 2022 World Maritime Day theme on 'New technologies for greener shipping,' reflecting the necessity for an international transition to a sustainable maritime sector.                                                                                                                            

WMU’s role in CHEK is to communicate the project results and disseminate them amongst stakeholders and policymakers. WMU is also responsible for conducting life-cycle assessments of the various technologies and to compare potential greenhouse gas emissions savings. Participation in the project supports WMU’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 7 focused on affordable and clean energy for all and Goal 13 focused on climate action. The maritime research portfolio of WMU, in particular the MEM research stream, is further boosted and strengthened with CHEK.

Through cutting-edge education and research in the Maritime Energy Management (MEM) field, WMU works to support the achievement of sustainable, zero/low-carbon and energy-efficient maritime and ocean industries. WMU’s MEM educational offerings include the groundbreaking MEM MSc specialization that was introduced in 2015, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Maritime Energy delivered by distance learning. WMU’s Maritime Energy Management Research Priority Area focuses on the fundamental understanding of energy in a maritime context and the application of evidence-based knowledge across the field from ships to ports, and from oceans to shipyards, to ensure the cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly use of resources. The book Trends and Challenges in Maritime Energy Management, was published in 2018 as an outcome of the International Conference on Maritime Energy Management (MARENER 2017) hosted at WMU in 2017. It was one of the most downloaded books in its category in 2018. A new offering in 2022 was the WMU Summer Institute on Maritime Decarbonization that brought maritime professionals together at WMU for a week-long, intensive programme focused on the opportunities and challenges surrounding the reduction of GHG emissions from shipping.

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