According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), ships are a major contributor to global CO2 emissions, claiming that the sector is responsible for 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 9 percent of shipping-related emissions, a figure that will rise as international trade increases. If no mitigation measures are taken, maritime emissions could grow by 50 to 250 percent by 2050. In the face of the urgency caused by these emissions, the use of renewable energy and its application to the maritime sector is emerging as an alternative.
Now, what are renewable energies?
They are those that are obtained from natural sources that produce energy in an inexhaustible and indefinite way, such as photovoltaic energy, wind energy or wave energy that comes from the sea, being these renewable sources of energy.
One of the main advantages of renewable energies is that they have no or low negative impact on the environment, and are therefore considered clean energies. Nowadays, renewable energies are a reality in our society and their benefits for the environment are obvious.
However, all societies in the world are energy consumers to a greater or lesser extent and the reality is that most of the energy consumed comes from oil, gas and nuclear energy, which have a greater negative impact on the environment. A noteworthy aspect of renewable energies is that they can be applied and exploited at the local level, which helps to reduce the dependence of populations on large energy producers, favoring economic development and job creation.
Among their advantages we find that they help to promote self-consumption, are beneficial for the environment, can reach isolated places and represent a plus to achieve energy independence.
Much is commented or discussed about the use of this type of energies, where some qualify them as cleaner energies since they depend on nature as the main source and favor the reduction of CO2 emissions, while others qualify them as expensive, difficult to implement, where only a very small elite is benefited.
Application in the Maritime Sector
In the medium or long term it is expected to be applied progressively through the change of fuel type, application of solar panels on ships, alternative propulsion systems based on wind, new materials for their structures or hulls (even recycled), anti-corrosion systems for the maintenance of facilities and more resistant paints that extend the life of the vessels, as well as the use of disruptive technologies.