Ricardo joins Global Industry Alliance to support low carbon shipping

24 July 2017 Consultancy.uk 5 min. read
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Professional services firm Ricardo Energy & Environment were among those to back the launch of the new Global Industry Alliance. The initiative has been formed to support maritime industry players overcome barriers preventing the adoption and further development of sustainable energy technologies in the global shipping industry.

Shipping, along with the majority of industries in the age of digital disruption, has changed considerably in recent years, with new innovations enabling more efficient use of resources for businesses willing and able to take advantage of them. Shipping, like most industrialised processes, has considerable negative externalities and risks associated with it, and the global volumes of emissions resulting from sea-borne trade were estimated to have topped 10 billion tonnes for the first time in 2015, as the industry itself flounders under increased pressures on trade volumes and overcapacity, as well as high levels of debt. Commodities such as bulk materials and oil and gas were the biggest contributors, at almost 3 billion tonnes each.

In attempts to counteract these booming areas of waste, new international agreements, such as the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN, are increasingly focused on cleaning up the supply chains of global industries. Subsequently new regulatory requirements are coming into force in the shipping industry, with focus on ship safety and marine environmental protection and pollution control. The industry also faces new requirements regarding the emissions of various pollutants, with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) setting increasingly stringent targets for pollutants.

Global Industry Alliance launched to stimulate low carbon shipping

New energy efficiency requirements may actually be a boon to the industry however, as improving technology and falling costs could see a decrease in business fees the inefficient industry currently incurs, as highlighted by a BCG report which placed the cost to companies of moving empty shipping containers at between $15 and $20 billion annually, while generating an extra 19 million tons of carbon dioxide globally in the process. To help the shipping industry avoid being stung by these new measures, along with encouraging the introduction of more energy and cost efficient and low-carbon maritime transportation systems – the Global Industry Alliance was formed this year – at a ceremony at the London headquarters of the IMO. The entity is supported by a wide range of maritime stakeholders, including ship owners and operators, international marine classification societies, marine engine builders and power system suppliers, big data providers, oil companies, and technology and engineering experts, including consultants from global professional services firm Ricardo Energy & Environment.

Changing Climate

The new entity is framed by various UN initiatives and projects, including the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the IMO Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project. The initiative aims to reduce the barriers to the uptake of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly transportation energy systems that already exist. Often time the technology creates considerable environmental damage and cost reductions, although they come with upfront capital costs. According to a statement from Ricardo following the launch of the GIA, the partners in the GIA will work together with IMO and other organisations, in the hope of creating opportunities that positively influence industry practices, while drawing on the broad skill set of the coalition to take advantage of private sector strengths, including R&D knowledge and practical experience. In doing so, they aim to address key barriers to transitioning shipping towards a low carbon maritime future, focusing on a number of priority areas including energy efficiency technologies and operational best practices, and alternative fuels and energy carriers.

Ricardo are presently involved in numerous environmental projects presently, including a series of free web-seminars on cleaner methods of waste management, and economic analysis regarding hydrogen fuel cell technology. In the GIA, they will be asked to leverage the firm’s long-standing expertise in fuel-efficient, low emissions and low CO2 marine propulsion technology, bringing skills in technical and strategic consulting to the table.

all partners of Global Industry Alliance

Ricardo’s Director of Industrial Engineering Simon Brewster said, “Ricardo is pleased to be able to participate as a founding partner in the Global Industry Alliance. International shipping is an important part of the modern global economy, and one which is increasingly the focus of ambitions for energy efficiency improvements and emissions reduction. It is in these areas in particular that I believe Ricardo can make an extremely valuable contribution to the work of the Alliance. We look forward to working with our fellow partners in this important initiative of the International Maritime Organisation, to help deliver new levels of energy efficiency and low emissions in the marine transport system of the future.”