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Åsa Burman at eComExpo: shipping is an important part of the transition

28 September 2023

Many will fight over the kilowatt-hours. How should we create an energy system that solves the needs of the entire transport sector? Among other things, by allowing more transport to go by sea, said Åsa Burman from Lighthouse when the issues were discussed at eComExpo - the fair for fossil-free transport.

Much was, of course, about charging points, roads and electricity distribution across the country when the issues were discussed in a panel with people from Scania, Drivkraft Sverige and Energiföretagen, among others. When it was Åsa Burman turn to talk after about after 15 minutes the conversation took a different direction.

- Every time I'm here in Stockholm I think: Why don't you use the water more? In Gothenburg, where I live, we don't use water very much either. We have a river that is basically empty and in Stockholm there is a lot of water that you build roads around. It is clear that it is possible to move a lot of transport from road to shipping, which is often much more energy efficient.

The important thing is not that transports should go quickly, but that they arrive on time. And everyone who has taken a ferry knows that it comes and goes at the appointed time, explained Åsa Burman.

So why don't we use shipping more on short distances? Are we stuck in a culvert? asked moderator Pernilla Ström.

- I think so. Very often, transport buyers are probably not aware that shipping solutions exist or they are difficult to obtain. It's typically the kind of things we look at. How should we go about including that option? It has started to lighten up. More recently, more shipping companies have started to sell green cargo.

A very green shipping is the one that travels with the help of wind. A project that has received a lot of attention recently is the development of the Oceanbird concept (which has largely been done in the Lighthouse sphere) and the upcoming construction of the sailing car carrier Orcelle Wind which is to be launched in 2027.

- A truck battery may be large, but it is nothing compared to what would be required to take a ship across the Atlantic. So that's why you go back to sails, perhaps in combination with batteries or some other fuel. So instead of avoiding winds, people will in future seek them out. There will therefore be a need for a type of sailor who can withstand a bit of weather.

Electricity will probably never be the big solution for long-distance shipping. Instead, shipping often looks at fuels that no one else is interested in, above all methanol and ammonia.

- But most will still be produced through electrolysis where hydrogen is the fuel. And what is needed to produce it? Well, there you go, electricity, said Åsa Burman.


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