The Korea Herald


Hanwha heir maps out net-zero vision at Davos

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : Jan. 17, 2024 - 17:26

    • Link copied

Hanwha Group Vice Chairman Kim Dong-kwan speaks about the group's plans to build a zero-emission gas carrier during the annual meeting of the 2024 World Economic Forum held in Switzerland, Wednesday. (Yonhap) Hanwha Group Vice Chairman Kim Dong-kwan speaks about the group's plans to build a zero-emission gas carrier during the annual meeting of the 2024 World Economic Forum held in Switzerland, Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Hanhwa Group Vice Chairman Kim Dong-kwan unveiled a new vision for the decarbonization of shipbuilding and outlined Hanwha’s plans to build a zero-emissions gas carrier, during the 2024 World Economic Forum held in Switzerland on Wednesday.

The new vessel will be the industry’s first to be powered entirely by alternative fuels, using Hanwha’s proprietary green technology, according to Kim.

Speaking at the Davos Forum under the title "The First Fossil-Free Ship on Water,” Kim underscored the importance of global collaboration in realizing green technologies and fostering market demand.

“Hanwha is challenging existing industry frameworks, spearheading new innovations and paving the way for maritime decarbonization,” said Kim. “We are taking a holistic approach to the energy transition, driving disruptive change not only in the production and storage of clean energy but in transportation as well. Advancing green ship technology and establishing a robust clean energy value chain will help us gain ground in our journey toward net zero.”

According to an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report, around 90 percent of traded goods are carried over the waves, accounting for 2.9 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, which makes decarbonization of shipping crucial to achieving net zero.

Hanwha currently holds a presence in the realm of clean energy, with a comprehensive value chain that encompasses the generation of solar, hydrogen and wind energy, along with the development of clean energy storage systems. Kim’s announcement at the forum further advances Hanwha’s commitment to a stronger clean-energy value chain, which includes carbon-free transport in shipping.

The vice chair also introduced Hanwha's strategy to develop a carbon-free ship powered by alternative fuels like ammonia, addressing the challenge posed by traditional internal combustion engines, which require 5 to 15 percent of pilot fuel for ignition, usually diesel.

Hanwha is in the process of developing an ammonia-powered gas turbine to replace conventional engines, effectively eliminating the need for pilot fuel.

To achieve carbon-free electrification, Hanwha is also strategizing to incorporate hydrogen fuel cells with energy storage systems as the auxiliary power source for the vessel. An integrated ammonia cracker will play a crucial role in generating the necessary hydrogen for the onboard fuel cells.

Kim also revealed his intention to own and operate newly developed, environmentally friendly vessels to advance technology.

Investing in deep-sea vessels is a capital-intensive endeavor, with construction timelines ranging up to three years, and operational lifespans extending over two to three decades. Such an extended timeframe poses a considerable challenge for shipowners to invest in emerging technologies. Hanwha aims to address the challenge by showcasing the advantages of green ship technology, thereby lowering the barriers to investment for shipowners and stimulating demand.

Meanwhile, last November, Hanwha Ocean joined the WEF's First Movers Coalition, an influential global initiative supported by 13 government partners, collectively representing over half of the global gross domestic product.

The FMC is dedicated to leveraging the purchasing power of the world's leading companies to establish assured early markets for cutting-edge technologies in sectors that are particularly challenging to decarbonize, such as shipping, steel, chemicals and aviation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Hanwha to the FMC, marking a significant step in our collective journey towards a net-zero future,” said Rob van Riet, FMC's interim head. As one of the 95 members, comprising top global companies and non-profit organizations, Hanwha aims to create new partnerships and pilot programs to build sustainable momentum for the adoption and commercialization of green ship technology.

As a strategic partner of the WEF, Hanwha is involved in multiple climate action initiatives. Kim has participated in the WEF Annual Meeting every year since 2010. In 2013, he was selected by the WEF as a Young Global Leader.

Marking its 54th year, this year’s Davos Forum, themed "Rebuilding Trust," goes through Friday, covering discussions on pressing global issues such as world conflict, climate change and AI technology.