Green Hydrogen: Transforming the Shipping Sector

In the global transportation industry, maritime shipping accounts for about 25% of all emissions. The first net-zero ships must join the global fleet by 2030, according to industry leaders, to meet the International Maritime Organization‘s objectives. Therefore, it is crucial to investigate low-carbon fueling options immediately to prepare for the upcoming energy transition in the following decades.

Hydrogen as a fuel for shipping

Hydrogen is the undisputed leader among the many different clean fuel alternatives that are currently being tested. There is already a hydrogen market on a global scale. Governments and private companies are working on initiatives to increase production capacity in anticipation of rising clean energy demand, which is expected to result in an expansion of the hydrogen market. India, one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases worldwide, approved a plan of incentives worth more than $2 billion to create a 5 million tonnes per year green hydrogen production capacity by 2030. Green hydrogen brings sustainability closer to reality. Unlike grey or blue hydrogen, this type of hydrogen is produced in a totally different manner. The process uses electrolysis, which separates hydrogen and oxygen molecules from water by using electrical energy. The electricity used in this process is produced using renewable resources like wind and solar energy.


Making green hydrogen requires switching from fossil fuels to renewable sources. The ultimate objective is to produce a closed loop of sustainable energy in which no hazardous gases are created at any point in the production chain.


Green hydrogen has been hailed as the “fuel of the future” because it has the potential to decarbonize some of the most carbon-intensive industries on the planet and achieve net-zero emissions, which is a necessary condition to halt the effects of global warming.


Future green hydrogen superpower: India

India has set a target of having Net Zero emissions by 2070. The demand for energy and resources in India will likely increase as its growth story develops. Since it has doubled over the past 20 years, energy use is expected to increase by at least another 25% by the year 2030. The National Hydrogen Mission aims to establish India as the world’s hub for the production, use, and export of green hydrogen and its derivatives. This will support India’s goal of achieving Aatmanirbhar (self-sufficiency) through clean energy and serve as motivation for the global Clean Energy Transition.


Hydrogen as shipping fuel: India

A sustainable maritime industry and a thriving blue economy are the goals of India’s Maritime Vision Document 2030, a ten-year plan. India has been chosen as the first nation to conduct a pilot project for green shipping as part of the IMO Green Voyage 2050 project. The majority of the initiatives align with the International Maritime Organization’s 2030 decarbonization and 2050 greenhouse gas strategies. Under the Green Shipping Initiative, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways (MoPSW) has revealed plans to transform two ports on India’s east coast and one on its west coast into hydrogen hubs. This initiative is a component of the Maritime India Vision 2030, which aims to make the Indian maritime industry sustainable by lowering greenhouse gas emissions and raising the proportion of renewable energy to 60% of the total power requirements of all major ports. In order to help the nation reach its 2030 hydrogen production goals, the ports in Paradip (Odisha), Deendayal (Gujarat), and V.O. Chidambaranar (Tamil Nadu) will be developed as hubs for green hydrogen generation.

The largest shipbuilding and repair facility in India, Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), has begun building the first domestic hydrogen fuel cell vessel.  The first fully indigenous zero-emission fuel cell vessel project in India.

In order to help important Indian ports meet up to 60% of their energy needs with renewable sources like solar and wind, the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping nad Waterways launched National Center of Excellence for Green Port and Shipping in November 2022.

The ministry has also started to modernise the main ports with amenities like shore-to-ship power, the use and promotion of electrically powered port equipment, and bunkering and storage facilities for environmentally friendly fuels like hydrogen and ammonia.

The government of India intends to eliminate carbon emissions from the ports through the implementation of renewable energy generation projects, the purchase of equipment to track environmental pollution, the development of dust suppression and garbage disposal systems for sewage treatment plants in ports and ships, and the construction of shore reception facilities for ship waste. These actions are anticipated to make Indian ports sustainable and environmentally friendly. In order to help the country meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals, the government of India has announced that all of its coastal or international vessels must comply with  International Maritime Organization’s energy efficiency and carbon intensity requirements.

If the proper incentives are in place to support the added cost of reduced (but not eliminated) emissions, synthetic fuels can be implemented before 2030. Ships may switch to green ammonia in the future, a fuel that doesn’t contain CO2 and is made from green hydrogen and nitrogen from the air. However, green ammonia will require investments to replace engines and tanks, and it is currently much more expensive than fuel oil.