US government releases blueprint to decarbonise America’s transportation sector

The US government yesterday released The U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization. Developed by the departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Blueprint provides a strategy for cutting all greenhouse emissions from the transportation sector by 2050.

In the area of maritime transportation, the report notes that, because of the international scope of the industry, “effective decarbonization will require intergovernmental collaboration that aligns with industry and community needs.” Further, as vessels have a long fleet turnover time, “understanding the costs, standards, and requirements is critical for long-term investment planning.” To decarbonise the sector by 2050 “will require innovative practices, targeted regulations, and a strong and immediate commitment to innovation and deployment of new and emerging technologies.” Priority actions identified in the Blueprint include research and innovation on viable alternative fuels and new technologies. “Promising fuels and technologies that can support maritime decarbonization” are listed as sustainable liquid and gaseous fuels; electric vessels; cold-ironing; energy efficiency and hybridisation; renewable energy; and exhaust treatment and carbon capture.

Another priority is engagement with international and domestic stakeholders – such as vessel owner/operators, ports, terminal operators and energy providers – to develop and implement effective strategies and regulation.

A third priority under the Blueprint is infrastructure investments and improved design and planning in clean technologies and fuels for maritime applications funded through new and existing federal programs. “Resources are necessary,” says the report, “for activities including clean vessel upgrades, retrofits, or conversions, and essential charging and refueling infrastructure.”