In the mounting worldwide effort to cut down on polluting emissions from the burning of traditional fuels like diesel, gasoline, natural gas, and coal, the world’s scientists and other researchers are now exploring other sources of power for industry, for transportation, for offices and homes.
Early this week, there was news from London that the international maritime industry is racing to find technologies to cut carbon-polluting emissions from their ships. The United Nations has set goals for the world shipping industry – that its first net-zero-emission ships must enter the global fleet by 2030.
Hydrogen has emerged as a leading candidate to replace today’s fuels and world oil major Royal Dutch has announced its commitment to hydrogen as “advantaged over other potential zero-emissions fuels for shipping.”
In its present stage of development, hydrogen as fuel occupies more space than other fuels, so that it is more feasible, for now, to use it only for ships on short voyages, as well as on river vessels. It is also more costly to produce than low-sulphur fuel oil, another possible replacement for today’s fossil fuels with their high-carbon emissions.
The international movement for lower carbon emissions is also being pushed by countries like Norway which has ordered that cruise ships and ferries travelling through its fjords must be emissions-free by 2026.
We welcome these moves to cut down on world carbon pollution, particularly the setting of deadlines. China became the first nation to set a deadline – 2060 – for a total end to its carbon emissions. It was followed by Japan which set its deadline at 2050. And now we have two more dates – 2030 set by the United Nations for the shipping industry, and 2026 set by Norway for all ships sailing in its fjords.
Hydrogen is now being developed for world shipping. Right now, hydrogen is far less dense than other fuels, making it necessary to carry more of it for one voyage. Once this problem is solved, it may also become a major fuel substitute for airliners.
Hydrogen is a cleaner fuel than oil, gas, or coal. We in the Philippines are now also turning to renewable and cleaner sources of energy, notably solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal. We are part of the worldwide movement to cut down and eventually eliminate pollution of earth’s atmosphere before it becomes too deadly for humanity.