Port of Rotterdam

Port of Rotterdam: Industrial sector further cuts carbon footprint

The Port of Rotterdam is another step closer to becoming a carbon-neutral port in the future, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement objectives.

Port of Rotterdam

Together with other companies, the port aims to achieve this goal by implementing three steps. These include efficiency & infrastructure, a new energy system and a new raw materials and fuel system.

The ‘sustainable in 3 steps’ strategy was developed in Rotterdam more than a year and a half ago together with government agencies, the business sector, NGOs and the scientific community. The business sector and the Port of Rotterdam Authority are now focusing on a series of projects to realise this strategy.

In 2019, Rotterdam’s industrial sector lowered its carbon emissions for the third year in a row by 3.8 per cent.

As explained, the main contributor to this reduction was the shift from coal-fired to gas-fired plants in electric power production. The refineries sector, on the other hand, showed an increase in 2019.

According to the port authority, this was due to two factors. On one hand, in the preceding years, several refineries had powered down a share of their capacity for maintenance. On the other hand, there was an increase in the production of cleaner fuels. While cleaner fuels ultimately lead to better air quality, their production actually requires more power than conventional fuels.

Rotterdam’s peak year in terms of carbon emissions was 2016. Back then, a number of new coal-fired plants were taken into use while existing examples remained operational. Emission levels have been cut by 17.3 per cent since 2016, the port informed.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is constantly working towards a carbon-neutral port and industrial sector by 2050. To this end, it has joined strengths with the private sector and government in a series of projects.

Some of these projects include the utilisation of residual heat for homes and greenhouses; the capture, transport and storage of carbon in the seabed of the North Sea (CCUS), known as the Porthos project; the generation of green electricity, the production of blue and green hydrogen and circular production processes like chemical recycling.