Rotterdam to usher in EUR5m incentive for ships using low- and zero-carbon fuels

Port explains that in order to slash emissions by more than 50%, it will require the use of alternative fuels.

The Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam. Image credit: Pixabay CC0

Updated on 13 Apr 2018 14:41 GMT

Port of Rotterdam Authority announced at the Energy in Transition Summit 2018 that it will introduce an incentive of EUR 5 million to support vessel owners and charterers that experiment with the use of low-carbon or zero-carbon fuels, as the port pushes for a reduction in emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

Port Authority CEO Allard Castelein also spoke in favour of a much higher CO2 fee, with the aim of stimulating new investments in clean technologies and innovation.

"A price in the range of EUR 50-70 per tonne of CO2 will stimulate companies to invest in solutions that we really need in order to realise the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement," he said.

The Rotterdam/Moerdijk port industrial area faces the challenge of reducing CO2 by 20m tonnes per year as of 2030 (49 percent lower than in 1990). The port is convinced that this target can be realised as part of the national Climate Agreement.

"We started in plenty of time in this region," said Castelein, who is also chairman of the so-called climate table for Rotterdam/Moerdijk. "We now have more than 40 projects in our portfolio that support the energy transition. Without exception, they involve coalitions of companies that are committed to tackling climate change and ensuring that Rotterdam continues to be a vital world-class port."

The target for 2050 is more ambitious. The port authority believes that radical changes are required in order to achieve this target. "Whereas we're now mainly looking at end-of-pipe solutions for the optimisation of the existing energy system, towards 2050 we will really need a radical change of the system," it said.

Port of Rotterdam Authority also presented new research figures at this week's Energy in Transition Summit 2018, which show that marine and inland transport with Rotterdam as the destination or departure point is responsible for emissions of around 25 million tonnes of CO2 per year. The majority of this amount (21.5 million tons) is attributed to marine transport.

To ensure that the sector also complies with the Paris Climate Agreement, the Dutch port says emissions will have to be reduced by 95 percent by 2050.

The port claims the first half of this target (up to 50 percent) can be achieved by efficiency measures, but that the remainder will require the deployment of different fuels.

According to the Wuppertal Institute, in the coming decades, LNG and biofuels can help shape the transition, but the ultimate goal can only be achieved with electrification and hydrogen and the use of synthetic fuels such as methanol.