Economics of our energy transition.

Given the decarbonisation targets set for 2050, most of the world’s 100,000 ships will need to transition to zero-carbon synthetic fuels like green ammonia or methanol, and then the largest ships will graduate to full electrification with advanced atomic technologies. We cannot get to zero without this change happening.

Green electrofuels such as hydrogen, ammonia and methanol, as opposed to fossil fuels, are energy carriers. This makes their production an extremely energy hungry process. In fact, more energy is required to produce one ton of hydrogen than the energy that can be carried in the hydrogen itself. If that production energy is not clean, or is not durable, we’re not really helping the cause.

The idea of producing cheap, green electrofuels at industrial scale with surplus energy only from variable renewable energy sources (VREs) is a mirage.

The challenge in decarbonising shipping by means of green electrofuels ultimately lies in the durable, low-cost production of such fuels in large quantities.

VRE alone is not an option for such a large-scale industrial production due to the much higher power capacity needed, and the much higher total system LCOE.

VRE may be used alongside advanced atomic to supplement and provide ancillary power supply.

VRE could be used alone only for extremely small scale / local production with negligible impact on the global bunkering industry.

Production at such a large industrial scale requires dispatchable power generation, not intermittent power.
Whatever energy source is used, the power generation capacity which will need to be deployed will be massive.

Advanced atomic power, from molten salt reactors would be ideal in this respect thanks to the low total system LCOE and the high-capacity factor.