Top dogs of South Korean shipbuilding industry eye carbon neutrality by 2050

The top six South Korean shipbuilding majors have set sights on achieving carbon neutrality in the sector by 2050, thus joining the global decarbonization push.

Namely, representatives of Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), Hyundai Heavy Industries, Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries, Hyundai Mipo Heavy Industries as well as STX Offshore & Shipbuilding released yesterday a joint declaration, vowing to make their businesses carbon neutral.

Hyundai Heavy Industries
Illustration; Image by Offshore Energy

The carbon neutrality committee is supported by industry stakeholders including Byeong-Cheol Lee, Executive Vice Chairman Korea Offshore & Shipbuilding Association (KOSHIPA).

The participating companies promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions both from their own operations as well as their cleints and their respective suppliers.

In order to do so, the companies plan to increase the use of renewable energy in their production processes, switch focus on the construction of eco-friendly ships powered by alternative fuels and develop specialized energy monitoring systems for the shipbuilding process.

The efforts are expected to be spurred by the governmental support.

Specifically, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy of South Korea said it would establish a vision and strategy for the transition to a carbon-neutral industry in 2050.

The ministry laid out several other steps in implementing the strategy, which will include the organization and operation of a private-private consultative body for each industry, enacting a special law for the transition to a carbon-neutral industrial structure, promoting large-scale R&D projects, and preparing corporate support measures.

Estimates show that the shipbuilding industry accounted for the emission of 2.08 million tons of GHG on an annual basis in 2017. Sixty percent of this proportion falls onto the direct power used in the production process, with 24% is ascribed to liquid fuels for trial runs.