Setting sail toward sustainability
Since the advent of the Fridays for Future youth movement, the need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions – especially carbon dioxide – in order to mitigate the impact of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect has grabbed the headlines everywhere. On closer inspection, though, the levels of awareness and action vary considerably, depending on where you look. While the world has focused for almost two decades on the supply of electrical power, it has largely neglected other areas of energy consumption – such as transportation and heating. It is hardly surprising then that the levels of technological progress in these different fields have also been unequal. One sector that has been virtually ignored is the shipping industry, despite the fact that it accounts for 3 percent of global carbon emissions, 13 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions, and 15 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions – and those figures are rising. In this issue of VDE dialog, we would like to go some way toward correcting that imbalance. In fact, there are several ways to make the shipping industry more sustainable. Many of these solutions are already fully developed and, thankfully, they are often economically viable as well. Fortunately for the VDE, electrical energy plays a key role in many of these concepts. One such example is electric ship engines that work together with a direct current network and a backup battery, saving primary energy and reducing emissions by about 25 percent. Another important development is the supply of energy from fuel cells and hydrogen – one key focus of our current cooperation with ABB. Supplying shore power to ships while they are moored at port is another component in this scenario. This immediately cuts back the most significant source of emissions for port cities, and would bring about far more change in a port such as Hamburg than a largely symbolic ban on diesel cars on a section of street (sorry, just couldn’t resist a quick jibe!). I hope these fascinating articles will deepen your existing knowledge, give you a first look at upcoming innovations, and bring you up to speed on the latest news in our industry.