// Regenerative Methane rather than Heavy Fuel Oil and Marine Diesel

Clean shipping with ZSW's power-to-gas process

Time and again, scientists have pointed to the hazards of pollutant emissions from shipping. Particulate matter, sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide harm the environment and endanger coast-dwellers' health. This problem can be defused by methane, preferably produced using the power-to-gas (P2G®) process developed by the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Wuerttemberg (ZSW). This synthetic gas releases virtually no particulate matter when it combusts, making it a climate-friendly fuel for ships and other vehicles.

Cruise ships, freighters and ferries emit tons of pollutants when they set out to sea. Environmentalists and health experts have repeatedly warned that sulfur and nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and carbon dioxide pollute the air, endanger the environment, and threaten the health of people, even of those far beyond major port cities. When ships run their diesel generators to produce the electricity used on board, they emit a massive amount of exhaust gases even when berthed in ports. Out at sea, ships' engines run on heavy fuel oil, which is cheaper but far more polluting than marine diesel. European Union regulations now prohibit its use in coastal waters. The black fumes are rife with toxins, and the soot particles are held to be particularly hazardous to people's health. A recent study conducted by Munich's Helmholtz Center, the University of Rostock and other institutions found that these particles can cause serious lung diseases.

"Air pollution from shipping and the impact on humans and the climate have long been underestimated," says ZSW researcher Dr. Michael Specht. The head of ZSW's department “Renewable Fuels and Processes” added that particulate filters could serve as a short-term stopgap to keep the problem in check, but it would be more effective to replace harmful heavy fuel oil and marine diesel with clean-burning, carbon-neutral methane produced by the P2G® process.

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