On this episode, hosts Peter Ravella and Tyler Buckingham are joined by guest host Taylor Goelz (host of ASPN's Ocean Decade Show! and Program Manager of the Shipping Decarbonization Initiative at The Aspen Institute) to discuss the exciting future trends of maritime shipping decarbonization. Joining the show is Bryan Comer, the Marine Program Lead at The International Council on Clean Transportation. The conversation covers why it is important to decarbonize maritime shipping and how can it be done, and well as covering the legal and regulatory framework that governs maritime transportation. They also discuss new technologies that are being used and developed such as hydrogen and sail, as well as failures, such as the rapidly growing number of ships are being fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems, or “scrubbers,” as a way to comply with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2020 global fuel sulfur limit. Scrubbers remove sulfur from ship exhaust by spraying a buffer solution, usually seawater, over it and then discharging the washwater overboard, often without treatment. The washwater is more acidic than the surrounding seawater and contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, particulate matter, nitrates, nitrites, and heavy metals including nickel, lead, copper, and mercury. Scrubber washwater is toxic to some marine organisms, harms others, and can worsen water quality.
Note: Since this show was recorded, the IMO conducted meetings that were disappointing once again. The short term measures for reducing emissions can actually lead to increases in emission and lack any sort of enforcement. Proposals for medium term measures were "punted" to the fall, so stay tuned to future episode as we follow this issue and the IMO's actions.