Prospects of cold ironing as an emissions reduction option

Thalis Zis*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Cold ironing is the process of providing shorepower to cover the energy demands of ships calling at ports. This technological solution can eliminate the emissions of auxiliary engines at berth, resulting in a global reduction of emissions if the grid powering the ships is an environmentally friendly energy source. This paper conducts a literature review of recent academic work in the field and presents the status of this technology worldwide and the current barriers for its further implementation. The use of cold ironing is mandatory in Californian ports for ship operators and as a result terminal and ship operators were required to invest in this technology. In Europe, all ports will be required to have cold ironing provision by the end of 2025. Other regulations that target local emissions such as Emission Control Areas can have a significant impact on whether cold ironing is used in the future as a potential compliance solution. This paper constructs a quantitative framework for the examination of the technology considering all stakeholders. The role of regulation is shown to be critical for the further adoption of this technology. Illustrative case studies are presented that consider the perspective of ship operators of various ship types, and terminal operators that opt to invest in shorepower facilities. The results of the case studies show that for medium and high fuel price scenarios there is economic motivation for ship operators to use cold ironing. For the port, the cost per abated ton of pollutants is much lower than current estimates of the external costs of pollutants. Therefore, shorepower may be a viable emissions reduction option for the maritime sector, provided that regulatory bodies assist the further adoption of the technology from ship operators and ports. The methodology can be useful to port and ship operators in examining the benefits of using cold ironing as an emissions reduction action.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransportation Research. Part A: Policy & Practice
Volume119
Pages (from-to)82-95
ISSN0965-8564
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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