The mtu Virtual Marine Summit took place for the first time from 18 to 20 May. The digital event lasted three days and allowed the participants to take part to several conferences, business meetings and media events. The key topic was the climate-neutral future of the shipping industry.

According to Rolls-Royce Power Systems, more than 2000 participants from 84 countries joined the event, whose conclusion was that «shipping must become more climate-friendly, and tackle the fundamental transformation needed to achieve this immediately». It was no coincidence that Tobias Kohl, representative from Rolls-Royce Power Systems, was one of the panelist of the first stage of the Sustainable Powertrain Tour on sustainability in leisure boating.

Key concepts from the mtu Virtual Marine Summit: no more compromises are possible

«The great response shows how important the topic of climate change and climate-neutral solutions is to the players in the shipping industry», said Denise Kurtulus, Vice President Global Marine at Rolls-Royce Power Systems. «We will only find solutions together, with the interaction of propulsion manufacturers, ship owners, shipyards and politicians. That is why it was so important to provide a platform for the exchange of all relevant players with our Summit», added Kurtulus.

«The scientific facts speak for themselves: to achieve our climate goals, no more compromises are possible in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. On the path towards climate neutrality, we need the cooperation of the shipping industry, too. But the shipping sector is characterized by a relatively large inertia in the transformation that is needed to reach those climate targets», added Hans-Otto Pörtner, member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and marine biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute, who held the opening speech.

From an engine supplier to a provider of integrated sustainable solutions

Hybrid and battery-electric drive solutions, fuel cells and synthetic fuels were discussed as well as the role of digitalisation and autonomous control in increasing the efficiency of drives. We participated in the media briefing, which resulted in a lively debate with Denise Kurtulus and Daniel Chatterjee, Head of the company’s Green and High- Tech programme. The latter stated that: «As part of our future strategy PS 2030, we are currently transforming ourselves from an engine supplier to a provider of integrated sustainable solutions. This includes the development of climate-friendly future technologies, in which we will invest around 500 million euros this decade».

Denise Kurtulus: «the perception of end customers is paramount»

We also asked Denise Kurtulus if, after the pandemic outbreak, either shipyards or final customers seem to be more aware of the importance of relyin on more environmentally-friendly solutions. All this might trigger the transition we are talking about? «After the Covid crisis, which hit above all the commercial shipping, we’re seeing a growth in the use of alternative fuels. We want to be main contributors in climate change, indeed, as we’re pushing towards a greener direction. In such a scenario, the perception of end customers is paramount, maybe more for commercial shipping than for the yachting sector. This is one of the main reasons why we have decided to organize the summit right now».


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