Governments adopt initiative to scale low-carbon fuel production

The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) has July 21 adopted the Clean Energy Marine Hubs Initiative (CEM-Hub) at a summit in Goa, India. The platform brings together the private sector and governments across the energy-maritime value chain to transform maritime transportation and production hubs for future low-carbon fuels. 

The CEM-Hub initiative is initially backed by Canada, Norway, Panama, Uruguay and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in partnership with the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and International Association of Ports & Harbors (IAPH). 

The energy maritime value chain is far from ready to transport the influx of low-carbon fuels that are expected between now and 2050. To accommodate demand, the shipping industry is expected to transport at least 50% of all traded low carbon fuels by 2050, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). But the production centers, vessels and port infrastructure required to accommodate expected demand do not currently exist at commercial scale.

So far only one ship in the whole global fleet has been piloted to transport liquefied hydrogen – travelling from Australia to Japan. For hydrogen derivates such as ammonia and other low-carbon fuels moved by ships, the scale is far from what heavy industries, transport, and other sectors would require. 

To support the global transition to net-zero targets, shipping is expected to transport between two and up to five times the low-carbon fuels it will consume by 2050. The mix of fuels that shipping moves will also need to change to be aligned to the Paris Agreement.

Participants have convened in Goa for the first ever CEM-Hub meeting. The initiative was adopted less than a year after it was first presented, in an unprecedented move by the CEM that reflects the immense scale of the problem and urgency to establish solutions. The CEM-Hub initiative and progress will be featured at the next COP28 in Dubai.

The initiative is also supported by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonization (GCMD).

Jean-François Gagné, Head of Secretariat, Clean Energy Ministerial, said: “Ports, shipping, and the logistics network need to be an integral part of the global clean energy transition. The Clean Energy Marine Hubs Initiative is a truly public-private platform between energy, maritime, shipping and finance communities. It represents a unique opportunity to develop concrete implementable actions to ensure greener supply chains globally.”

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, commented: “The momentous speed at which the CEM Hub initiative has been adopted speaks volumes to not only the scale of the challenge before us and the urgency to act, but also the economic opportunity low-carbon energy production offers – particularly to developing economies.

“For first movers it presents a golden opportunity to develop an industry that will catalyze economic growth and prosperity and provide energy stability for their citizens.” 

Patrick Verhoeven, IAPH Managing Director, commented:  “It will be the role of shipping and the ports that serve them to become the enablers of the energy transition by offering the capacity to transport what is expected to be 50% of all global zero-carbon fuels. For candidate countries this presents a golden opportunity to develop the hub concept as catalysts of economic growth and prosperity for their citizens.”

Photo credit: iStock/ AvigatorPhotographer

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