TradeWinds’ Green Seas has held its first live event, with a discussion in New York about the investments that are being made today in alternative fuels.

Shipowners and operators participating in the Green Seas Fuels Forum included those that have adopted or made investments in a variety of technologies and fuels, including methanol, LNG, biofuels, wind propulsion, hydrogen fuel cells and batteries.

Cargill Ocean Transportation global operations director Eman Abdalla, for example, said her company wanted to cut short the chicken-and-egg debate that holds back alternative fuels. The company has gone big on biofuels, is testing wind propulsion and has ordered what are likely to be the world’s first methanol-fuelled bulkers.

“We wanted to put an end to that debate, and we decided that we need to take action, and we need to take action today,” she said, as TradeWinds’ has reported.

But the discussion also included one shipowner executive, Star Bulk Carriers president Hamish Norton, whose company has invested heavily in scrubbers to keep running on high-sulphur fuel oil.

He said the company, in addition to exploring a number of technologies to improve efficiency, is looking at capture, which he said would be a major capital investment — an estimated $5m per ship compared to scrubbers’ $2m.

But he said amine-based carbon capture has relatively low operating costs.

“I think that they’re probably very close,” he said. “I think if there were a carbon tax that made them economically attractive, people would be offering products within a few months.”

Other speakers included representatives from the finance, technology, fuel supply, shipbroking and NGO sectors.