In 2015 the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change, was set. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on the 4th of November 2016 to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2oC above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5oC, which means that global emissions need to fall to a net-zero by mid-century.
The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause, an agreement to combat climate change and accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.
The Paris Agreement did not include the maritime industry. However, the IMO, The International Maritime Organisation, has committed to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping. The IMO has its roots all the way back to 1948, with the most important of all its measures the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships signed in 1973.
As IMO measures have entered into force, developments in technology and/or lessons learned from accidents have led to changes and amendments being adopted. As a result, the IMO is continuously pursuing a proactive approach to enhance implementation and enforcement.
Today's IMO's GHG strategy is to reduce the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008. Through IMO regulations, the maritime industry has been forced to take action in reducing emissions from ships. Today there are mainly two ways of meeting these regulations: switch fuel or install so-called scrubbers. Scrubbers on the market today only remove sulphur oxides and PM (black carbon); some include NOx; however, new toxic pollutants need to be reduced with new fuel on the market.
In the last few years, there has been an incredible transition in the maritime industry due to Paris Agreement. The IMOs strategy, combined with governments' acceleration, focuses on the transition to a zero-carbon economy.
In general, the catalysts for such transitions for the maritime industry are:
- Regulatory: the IMO goals on GHGs have been translated into international regulations. Today, there are regulations on SOx, NOx and CO2: DNV - Decarbonization in shipping. CO2 regulations, in particular, require all vessels (new and existing) to improve their emissions, and the thresholds are more stringent over time. Compliance requires taking active measures and invest in equipment, improved vessel designs and improve operations. Fuel transition into alternative fuels with lower carbon impact is happening as a result of these regulations. Furthermore, the goals are for GHG reduction (not only CO2), meaning regulations are being translated into CO2e factors that affect all climate pollutants. The regulatory pace has accelerated, and more and more regulations are being introduced. Today, many ship owners want to be ahead of regulations as that gives them an advantage over the competition.
- Financial: The EU taxonomy for sustainable activities and the Poseidon Principles limit the funding to non-sustainable vessels and increase the available funding for the green fleet. Most of the main banks providing financing to the maritime industry are signatories of the Poseidon Principles. That translates into better rates for companies with vessels that invest in reducing their environmental footprint.
- Market: The Sea Cargo Charter signed by the largest charterers in the world requires ship owners to reduce the vessels' emissions to be hired. It has transparency rules and reporting requirements. Adding to this, many companies have additional decarbonisation goals and requirements in their scope 3 emissions. 21% of the largest 2000 public companies (representing USD 14 trillion in revenue) have net-zero commitments. This is only possible with a large reduction in emissions by the ships that transport the goods.
In addition, the carbon pricing and trading schemes will be an additional force to motivate reduction and even voluntary reductions that can be traded as offsets, and we are actively working on making that a reality. According to the environmental index of the vessels, there are already significant benefits from the voluntary reduction of NOx beyond compliance with, for example, discounts in ports (or rather different pricing schedules).
All of these are at the international level. At the local levels, some countries are ahead in imposing additional regulations. Norway is one of the leaders, but China is an example of a country that has also tighten the marine air emission regulatory. North America has extensive ECA areas and additional regulations such as CARB.
Daphne's place in the green lifecycle
Today, no commercial offerings offer a technology to reduce multiple toxic pollutants and GHGs with one system in one step. That is the main differentiator of Daphne and a perfect match for new engines installed in vessels, so-called multi-fuel engines, or for vessels running on HFO or LNG today.
Our technology, the ECOnverterTM, is a key solution to shipowners. Their vessels can comply with local and global emissions regulations regardless of whether they are operating on LNG or traditional heavy fuels and distillates today, or non-fossil multifuel in the future, such as ammonia and hydrogen. Effectively, at Daphne, we focus on enabling the maritime industry to achieve sustainable net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.
Embracing technologies with the future in mind is essential to ensure shipowners consistently meet emissions targets and regulations for years to come. This is how our team approaches the development of air purification technologies for exhaust gas cleaning systems. Considering the present and future regulations, our system is the world's first and only system that simultaneously eliminates SOx, NOx, CH4 and PM from ship exhausts. Furthermore, our universal converter not only converts CH4 (methane slip) from LNG fuel, but it also converts NH3 (ammonia slip) from future ammonia fuel, and all of this while reducing some CO2 from all fuels.