Last month, in the race to tackle climate change, DNV hosted its Energy Transition Conference in Singapore with presentations and panel discussions for industry stakeholders and clean energy experts. Focusing on maritime decarbonization, the conference discussed the role Singapore can play in the green energy transition in Southeast Asia. As this thriving maritime hub steps up its efforts to reduce and eventually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, the conference was an opportunity to explore what the energy transition journey will look like in 2022.
Remi Eriksen, group chairman and CEO of DNV, believes that reaching net zero is politically and economically feasible – but it will take effort, he told the conference in a keynote address.
“Hydrogen, which is the lightest of the elements, needs a heavyweight to reach the Paris Agreement. Much stronger policies are needed from governments. In this region, especially with Singapore as major refueling hub today, there are huge opportunities for new fuels like ammonia, synthetic methanol and hydrogen in its purest form,” Eriksen said. income, Singapore must be a catalyst for change in this region. [Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance] Lawrence Wong’s commitment to net zero by 2050.”
Drawing on DNV’s Energy Transition Outlook, Eriksen predicted that global energy consumption is heading for a rapid transition from an 80/20 split (80% fossil/20% non-fossil) to a 50/20 split. 50 by 2050. -zero by mid-century may be out of reach without further action.
“It will not be fast enough to respect the Paris agreement, [and] the earth is heading for a warming of 2.3°C above pre-industrial levels,” Eriksen warned.
He suggested that to put global climate ambitions on track, Europe and the United States must reach net zero by 2040 and then become net negative by finding ways to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. .
For Southeast Asia’s path to net zero, Eriksen suggests that bringing the region down from its 2019 emissions rate of 1.7 gigatonnes of CO2 per year will require rapid penetration of renewable energy and a reduction in the use of fossil fuels. He thinks this will have to be driven by much higher carbon pricing and a ban on internal combustion engine cars by 2040.
DNV predicts Southeast Asia will be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990s levels by mid-century (DNV)
Eriksen admits that it will be difficult to eliminate fossil fuels entirely from the global energy mix in less than thirty years, given the demand for oil in industry and transport. To solve this problem, DNV is making efforts in carbon capture and storage (CCS), direct air capture and nature-based solutions. Beyond 2050, once fossil fuels are fully phased out, DNV sees the ideal energy mix as 70% direct electrification through renewables; 20% indirect electrification from green hydrogen and hydrogen-derived products; and 10% biofuels. Hydrogen will be key to decarbonizing hard-to-reduce sectors like high-temperature industrial processes, shipping, trucking and aviation.
To produce enough hydrogen to supply just 5% of the global energy mix, around $7 trillion in investment would be needed by 2050. However, three times as much hydrogen – enough for 15% of global energy demand – is necessary to reach net zero. by 2050. This represents an additional 90 million tonnes, equivalent to the total quantity of “grey” hydrogen produced today for industrial and agricultural purposes. The challenge is to clean up the global hydrogen supply chain and simultaneously double its size to support new uses.
Hydrogen will be essential for maritime transport. In the 2030s and beyond, Eriksen predicts that ammonia made from green hydrogen will become the industry’s low-carbon fuel of choice. Therefore, ammonia production, storage and bunkering will be of strategic importance to Singapore, the world’s premier bunkering hub.
“Hydrogen, the lightest substance, needs a heavyweight. Dramatic and urgent changes in all energy value chains are needed thanks to a much smarter end use made possible by digitalization. to happen, we need stronger policies on carbon pricing, subsidies, strict mandates and bans. There is a lot of work to do and a lot to discuss,” he concluded.
Although the goals of net zero are two to three decades away and there will be unpredictable shifts in technology, finance, politics and public will in the intervening years, it is nonetheless inspiring to see that a common goal and effort for a cleaner planet unites the industry. Singapore has chosen to be a forerunner in the race to decarbonize and digitize the maritime and energy sectors. The “Little Red Dot” city-state is making drastic efforts to show its leadership in the rapidly changing global landscape, and industry and the region will be watching Singapore’s initiatives closely.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.