The Zero Emissions Ship Technology Association (Zestas) says shipping is ready for hydrogen propulsion technology as it applies for consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The organisation hopes a decision will be taken at the at the IMO's Mari­time En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Committee (MEPC77) which started this week.

In a briefing by Zestas secretary general Madadh MacLaine after its workshop at the sidelines of the COP26 climate talks, she said the shipping market is ready to go green.

"Hydrogen propulsion technology combined with batteries can cover almost all coastal and short sea shipping routes and many trans-oceanic routes," MacLaine said.

"Add wind propulsion at design stage and most transoceanic routes could be true zero greenhouse gas emissions at time of launch without significant changes to operating profiles."

However, Maclaine said the big question remains, where will the hydrogen come from?

The production of green hydrogen in commercial quantities is kicking off globally, she said, with 108 North Sea ports fully funding green hydrogen projects, with over 6GW of electrolysis.

Some 387MWs of capacity is under construction and 29.3MWs completed, with more projects in the pipeline, it said.

Mass production and export of cheap green hydrogen from developing countries are expected by 2025, Zestas added.

Chilean Energy Minister, Juan Carlos Jobet, has said Chile will be exporting green hydrogen at $1.50 per kg by 2025 and producing three times shipping's fuel requirements by 2030, Zestas said.

In Namibia, a $9.4bn project for 3GW green hydrogen production is expected to be exporting at $2 per kg from 2026, it added.

Zestas wants a target of true zero by 2040, and for the IMO to implement command and control regulations that mandate a transition to true zero-emission vessels on a timescale consistent with achieving the Paris Agreement temperature goals.

It is also calling for support to current proposals for a global carbon levy at the IMO to ensure consistent and coordinated global carbon pricing mechanisms.

And it seeks mandated port electrification and the elimination of taxes on green electricity being used by ships.