The South Korean government announced a broad initiative to encourage the development of eco-friendly shipping as well as to address marine pollution issues. Discussed as part of a broader countrywide economic planning session, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and the Ministry of Industry jointly committed to investing more than $870 million between 2022 and 2031 to develop and promote innovative technology for eco-friendly ships.
Named the 2030 Green Ship-K Promotion Strategy it will be linked to the policies of the country’s Green New Deal designed to achieve carbon neutrality. To support the image of Korean eco-friendly shipping, the plan targets the advancement of LNG, electricity, and hybrid core technologies and the use of low carbon ship technology including mixed fuels. Among the technologies being targeted are hydrogen and ammonia fuel cells and fuel storage tanks as well as propulsion systems and fuel supply.
Supporting a comprehensive technology development program, the plan will seek to develop technology leading to carbon-free shipping systems including the use of hydrogen and ammonia. The Green Ship-K initiative sets a goal of reducing shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in the next 25 years and by 70 percent in 2050.
The efforts call for a demonstration project named the Greenship-K. This will start with the construction of small coastal ships with eco-friendly technology and using these ships to verify the technology. They believe that the technology will spread to larger ships for land and sea verification and commercialization.
Included in the demonstration project will be the construction of 10 ships, ranging from an LNG bunker ship by 2022 to an LNG-ammonia mixed fuel propulsion ship by 2025. In total, they are calling for constructing one LNG bunkering vessel, two electric propulsion ships, three hybrid ships, two mixed fuel ships, and three hydrogen ships to establish the pathway to eco-friendly shipping.
To also support the development of the technologies they are calling for the construction of a multi-purpose demonstration vessel by 2023 and renovating an existing government ship by 2022. In total, 199 old government ships will be replaced and 189 newer government ships will be converted to eco-friendly technologies by 2030. With the use of a standardized approach to the government ships, they expect that the construction costs can be reduced by up to 20 percent for design and equipment purchasing.
The expertise developed in the efforts will the government ships will also be used to expand eco-friendly technologies into commercial shipping. The plan targets converting 58 international passenger ships and oil tankers as well as 82 cargo ships. It is estimated that the conversion of a total of 528 ships would generate as much as $4.5 billion in sales for South Korea’s maritime industries.
Several initiatives were also outlined to support the conversion to eco-friendly shipping. This includes expanding the infrastructure to supply eco-friendly fuels, including LNG and electricity, and developing fast charging facilities for small electric and hybrid ships. They will also create a certification system for eco-friendly ships.
In a separate initiative outlined during the same conferences, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries also set out a plan to reduce marine plastics by more than half by 2030 by preventing marine debris and expanding collection and disposal. This will include encouraging the replacement of buoys with eco-floats, improving garbage collection on Korea’s islands, and strengthening support to reduce marine litter. The plastic plan also calls for the monitoring of microplastics including surveys of the domestic coastal areas.
The government believes by implementing these programs it can keep Korean industry at the forefront of the drive to create a sustainable ecosystem and support the shipping, shipbuilding, and marine equipment industries.