Editorial / 31 Jul 2022

What’s the value of HyValue?

GAC has joined the Norwegian government’s HyValue initiative to develop hydrogen energy as a maritime fuel. But what do we, and shipping in general, stand to gain?

GAC Norway will draw the wider GAC Group’s experience and expertise in low carbon and sustainable bunker fuels to support the development of storage, handling and bunkering technologies for hydrogen.

This latest development in our Group’s commitment to sustainability and accelerating decarbonisation across the wider maritime industry is testament of the role we have to play in the transition to cleaner fuels.

The HyValue project will look to develop knowledge, methodology and innovative solutions for the production of hydrogen energy carriers in a bid to further Norway’s transition to a low emission society. The project is being led by the Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE), one of Norway’s largest independent research institutes, and funded by the Norwegian government’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

An initiative like this is vital if the shipping industry is to meet the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) goal of halving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 as hydrogen provides a greener alternative to traditional bunker fuels.

Hydrogen can be produced renewably from electrical energy and bio-renewable processes, is carbon- and sulphur-free and disperses organically in the event of a leak.

Hydrogen-powered ferries and smaller shipping vessels are in use in Europe and North America, and several major oil and gas players are investing in hydrogen production projects in Europe and Asia. However, large-scale storage and handling facilities for hydrogen are needed if the fuel is going to become more widely available as it must be compressed into a liquid and constantly kept under high pressure.

GAC’s presence at ports worldwide and our relationships with ports, bunker suppliers and shipowners put us in a perfect position to influence and facilitate the greater use of greener fuels in shipping.

The importance of alternative fuels
There is no doubt that the IMO’s 2050 GHG plan is ambitious. If the shipping industry is going to hit that target, then it is going to take a tremendous amount of cooperation from all players, big and small, to develop the technology, infrastructure and confidence to make alternative fuels a widespread reality.

GAC is already committed to making the world is better, safer, cleaner and greener, and our Roadmap to Sustainability ensures that our goals are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Towards net zero
“The GAC Group is committed to a net carbon zero future, and GAC Bunker Fuels, the first bunker company to align with the UN SDGs, has also pledged to achieve zero oil-based bunker sales by 1 January 2030,” says Nicholas Browne, Global Director of GAC Bunker Fuels, the Group’s marine fuel and lubricant procurement arm. “To do so, we are embracing new types of alternative fuels and being early supporters of developing technology and infrastructure to ensure these fuels reach their full potential.”

That means getting involved in projects like Norway’s HyValue. It is not just about the benefit of better understanding and utilising hydrogen energy within a regional economy.

It’s about being a part of small-scale projects that can have a long-term impact on a worldwide industry.

As an integrated shipping services provider with industry knowledge of vessel movements and customer interaction, GAC is uniquely positioned to play the role of the market maker connecting alternative fuels suppliers and customers.

We believe that by embracing new technologies and being at the very epicentre of their development, GAC can become a world leader in sustainable fuels to the maritime industry. Not just for hydrogen, but for LNG, ammonia, bio-methanol, and whatever new fuel types may be coming our way.

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