COP28 summit brings hope for genuine progress

Every year, the COP summit places a global spotlight on climate change. It also brings a lot of unwelcome hot air. However, this year there were two developments that thankfully look set to translate into genuine action. Firstly, more than 100 countries have agreed to triple renewable energy capacity (to at least 11,000 GW) and to double the global rate of energy efficiency by 2030. Secondly, a pledge to move away from the use of fossil fuels.

As a challenger of current power generation systems, we were proud to be included in the list of signatories, via our membership in ZESTAs, backing a commitment to scaling up zero-emissions fuel derived from renewables-based hydrogen to nearly 11 million tonnes by 2030. 30 shipping leaders in total signed the commitment, which is testament to the investment and appetite for hydrogen usage in our industry, as well as across the other industries that we serve.


There was also a joint declaration from MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and Wallenius Wilhelmsen calling for an end date for fossil-only powered newbuilds and urging the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to create the regulatory framework to accelerate the green fuel transition.


Several charterers also announced their support of zero-emission shipping. Mondelēz International, Flexport, Meta, Nestle, Royal Coffee, Standing CT and Trek Bikes joined the Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (CoZEV) initiative – which now totals 35 cargo owners pledging to only use zero-emission shipping by 2040.

What’s clear from the multitude of COP28’s pledges and announcements is that the time is now to start investing in a zero-emission maritime industry. Companies like Torghatten Nord in the roll-on/roll-off passenger (RoPax) ferry market have already invested in zero-emission technology.

We are currently delivering a 3 MW fuel cell marine power solution to a superyacht built by a European shipyard. The delivery represented the culmination of several development phases. Quality and compliance took precedence over speed, and the process involved numerous stakeholders, setting new standards in safety and integration benefiting the whole maritime industry and providing a blueprint for sustainable shipping.

The fuel cell offers silent propulsion and zero emissions – besides water vapour and good vibes! The client was focused on high efficiency and reliability over time, and the Marine System 200 was developed as the solution. We are also currently performing the largest amount of factory acceptance tests (FATs) in our company’s history. These tests themselves also generate power to the grid, so no energy is ever wasted.


Looking ahead to 2024, we see an unprecedented year of opportunity on the horizon for the maritime sector. From the superyacht sector pushing the boundaries of innovation, to the Ro-Pax sector, where Norway is leading the way with the Torghatten Nord project. The short-sea vessels representing approximately 150 million tonnes of annual carbon emission, we have the chance to make a genuine positive impact to the environment, which has never been more crucial.