Titanic solution for the diesel dilemma
The world is running out of diesel, but shipping companies are finding new ways to keep sailing
The world is in a bind: there is too much oil and not enough diesel. Oil demand has dropped as countries switch to renewable energy, but diesel demand has soared as trucks and ships still need it. Diesel is also harder and more expensive to make than gasoline, so oil producers don’t bother.
This has caused a diesel crisis, and the price of diesel has skyrocketed since 2020. This is bad news for the shipping industry, which moves 90% of the world’s trade and uses 7% of the world’s diesel. But some shipping companies are not giving up. They are looking for other fuels and technologies to power their vessels, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), biofuels, hydrogen, ammonia, batteries, and even nuclear energy.
One of the most popular options is LNG, which is cleaner and cheaper than diesel, and many shipping companies have ordered ships running on LNG. Maersk, the largest container shipping company in the world, launched its first ‘carbon-neutral’ feeder vessel in 2024, and plans to have mega-ships running on dual-fuel by 2030.
Another option is nuclear energy, which offers zero emissions and unlimited power for ships. NuScale Power, a US-based company, has developed a 60MW small modular reactor (SMR) that can power a small city or a large ship. NuScale has teamed up with Prodigy Clean Energy, a Canadian company that specializes in maritime nuclear propulsion systems, to develop a nuclear-powered cruise ship that will be launched in 2029.
The cruise ship, called Prodigy One, will be the biggest and most luxurious cruise liner in the world, with room for 8,000 passengers and 2,500 crew. It will also be the first cruise ship to use nuclear energy as its main source of power. The reactor will provide enough electricity to run all the onboard amenities and services, such as restaurants, casinos, spas, cinemas, pools – and onboard vertical farms and waste recycling. The SMR will also allow the cruise ship to travel faster and further than conventional cruise ships, reaching speeds of up to 30 knots and destinations like Antarctica. With zero eco impact!
The diesel crisis may seem like a nightmare for the shipping industry, but it also opens up new possibilities for innovation and change. By embracing alternative fuels and technologies, such as LNG and nuclear energy, the shipping industry can reinvent itself and steam ahead to a cleaner, brighter future!
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