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A new voice for decarbonisation

It’s an association born as much out of a sense of frustration as well as a need to have a trade representation within the industry. The Zero Emission Emission Ship Technology Association (ZESTAs) was formed earlier this year, and already boasts more than a dozen member, all selling, developing and collaborating on the technologies that will be part of the answer to one of the toughest challenges the International Maritime Organization has ever set: The partial and then complete decarbonisation of the shipping industry.

ZESTAs’ founder Madadh Maclain is adamant that the association comes across as a reputable association representing commercial entities that see the economic drivers that underscore the decarbonisation message.

ZESTAs members , currently and those that join in the future, will be the companies that are selling solutions, both as part of the mix for the low carbon/reduced emission reality of today, but also for the long term answers that industry will have to seek, says MacLaine.

But she is also strong on the point of who the members are not. Even though the ZESTAs member may have solutions that can be part of a mix where there are still hydrocarbon emissions, the members offer zero emission solutions, not one for emission reduction.

This means it is not an association for fuel reduction technologies, abatement systems, hull coatings and other efficiency tools. These solutions have representation and a lobbying voice already.

“I am not against these transitional fuels, it is just that this is not what we are doing,” she says “ We do not represent the whole (low carbon to decarbonisaton) solution, just a select sector”:

The frustration that MacLaine talks about the association feeling is to do with the legislative process that seems to be drawn out due to regulators feeling the technologies are not available or mature enough.

“I have no delusions of the time we need,” she says. “but it can be quicker than people think, they need to see the steps. We have the solutions.”

 What the association is trying to show is that its members, or the decarbonisation sector as a whole, has the solutions even though some may need to be scaled up or adapted for shipboard use.

In the energy storage/battery and the fuel cell markets there is already a competitive landscape with many companies investing in further research and development. But as shipping decarbonises, either because of regulatory pressure or societal, there will be too many customers for one company, or even two. But the winning companies, both technology wise, and from the shipping perspective, will be the ones that are first movers or fast followers, says MacLaine.

There are already land-based 1MW fuel cells capable of running off green hydrogen, with projects looking to turn this level of  power to marine use: And batteries are now at a level of maturity in various industries, though the question about the technology revolve around scale and weight as costs come down. And as Fathom.World reported last week efforts are underway in Norway to make its hydrogen supply chain achieve maturity.

So this is an association that now has a board, a statute and even support from at least one IMO member state that agrees with its position – which will no doubt help ZESTAs gain a footing at the all important IMO committee meetings and working groups as the UN body works on its roadmap and strategy.

MacLaine says the aim is to get ZESTAs voice heard in the IMO meetings, to allow rule makers to have more confidence that the decarbonisaton target can be achieved.  But getting rule makers to see the existing potential of zero emission solutions is one thing; the shipowning and operating community is another, and for this the association is developing a strong voice to get the message across .

About Author

Craig Eason Stockholm
Craig Eason is the owner and editorial director of Fathom.World. He has a background in the shipping industry having started his career as a cadet on oil tankers and gas carriers before becoming a navigating officer on a range of vessel types. A change in career, with ensuing university studies, and he has now gained 20 years experience in written and broadcast journalism. He now is in demand as a knowledgeable and competent editor and event host and moderator, both for in-house events and ones for the public.