Houlder and Shell sign decarbonisation collaboration agreement


Design and engineering consultancy Houlder and Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Limited (Shell), have agreed to work together to identify, evaluate, and further develop solutions to accelerate the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.

The agreement will focus on both retrofit and newbuild vessel opportunities of benefit to the wider maritime community. The collaboration will span market research, technical analysis of clean solutions from a design and engineering perspective, safety and risk assessment studies, and greenhouse gas emissions abatement quantification and verification.

Rupert Hare (pictured, left), Chief Executive Officer at Houlder, commented: “The maritime industry has to choose technology pathways, supported by regulation, which offer credible and low-cost routes to a net-zero emissions future by 2050. We must collectively do more to accelerate change – and this is one of the cornerstones of our forward-thinking collaboration with Shell.”

Jonathan Strachan (right), Chief Technical Officer at Houlder, added: “There are a myriad of maritime decarbonisation solutions available. The challenge is cutting through the noise to find the right solutions for a ship type, specific ship, and its unique operating profile. Our collaboration with Shell will support the company in making the right decarbonisation decisions, underpinned by technical design and engineering expertise.”

Through leading and participating in like-minded collaborations and coalitions, Shell and Houlder’s overarching aim is to see commercially operating ships with lower emissions on the water in the 2030s. They believe this can be achieved through a combination of existing technologies and fuels, while more radical change will be required to achieve alignment with the new IMO target of net-zero emissions close to 2050.

Safety is another core component of Houlder and Shell’s agreement. With maritime decarbonisation requiring new technologies and operating procedures, safety remains a central focus for the industry. Changes could introduce risks that may not be adequately managed or eliminated by today’s standards, skills and procedures.

News of this collaboration agreement comes after Houlder announced its work for Shell on the concept design of liquid hydrogen (LH2) carriers, and studies on hydrogen as a cargo or fuel. The news also comes after the IMO’s MEPC 80 meeting and revised greenhouse gas strategy, which requires a well-defined industry view on green solutions to achieve.