130 Experts of The Maritime Gathered Around BLUMORPHO To Work on The Decarbonization of This Industry: Their Insights

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130 Experts of The Maritime Gathered Around BLUMORPHO To Work on The Decarbonization of This Industry: Their Insights

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March 21st, 2024

As part of the Monaco Ocean Week organized by the Prince Albert of Monaco II Foundation, 130 maritime industry experts gathered at the Yacht Club de Monaco to participate in the “Financing Maritime Innovation and Infrastructure for Climate and Ocean” initiative, led by Blumorpho.


Blumorpho is committed to accelerating innovation for positive impact while reinforcing access to partners and investors. Maritime is a key field of action for Blumorpho since it is facing a major challenge for its decarbonization. It is a complex equation to solve with the needs for alternative fuels, optimization of practices and also efficient innovation in carbon sequestration, storage and use. At Blumorpho and The Hive Climate AI we are convinced that attractive collaboration and investment opportunities will emerge to reach net zero by 2050. We are quite happy that top notch players of the maritime industry joined us to work with us on this major challenge to operate successful collaborations and investment”, stated Geraldine Andrieux, President of Blumorpho and MD of The Hive Climate AI.


This gathering received support from key organizations such as the Monaco Shipping Chamber, the New Energies Coalition, the CMB – Compagnie Maritime Belge, the Maritime Campus Antwerp, the Monaco Hydrogen Alliance, the Monaco Scientific Center, and the Monaco Oceanographic Institute, AIR Monaco. Additionally, sponsors including Eurazeo, Purus, and Julius Bär lent their partnership to this inaugural edition. The assembly included shipowners, innovative companies, corporates, institutions, investment funds, and shipyards, sharing a common objective: to explore collaboration for accelerating the decarbonization of the maritime industry.


Here are our experts’ insights.

Innovation & Financing: What’s Next to Invest in Maritime?

As stated by François Tison (360 Capital Partners), when it comes to the maritime industry, “innovation is pushed almost exclusively by the necessity to reduce carbon footprint”: 30% by 2030, 70% by 2040, and zero carbon by 2050 .
Today, Emilie Espanet (New Energies Coalition) explains that the commercial fleet is composed of 100 000 commercial vessels, of which under 1% are using alternative fuels. Up to $28 billion would be required annually to decarbonize ships by 2050 , and up to $90 billion to develop the necessary infrastructure for 100% carbon neutral fuels. “Shipping as an investment asset class is developing quickly” explains Sylvain Pagès (AlftinPartners). Capital needs are increasing to meet ever stringent IMO targets and banks are limited in their lending capabilities. For this reason, alternative financings are required, leading to more and more shipping investment funds being set up, for debt or equity financing.

Sylvain Pagès (AltfinPartners) Financing Maritime Innovation and Infrastructure for Climate and Ocean, BLUMORPHO, Monaco Ocean Week 2024 Yacht Club de Monaco

Leading funds are already showing the way. Sylvain Makaya (Eurazeo) reminds us that “the decarbonization of the maritime industry is a paramount topic for Eurazeo, which has already launched a dedicated €200M platform, intending to increase those financings within the coming years.”


Beyond clean propulsion, many solutions emerge, and are creating investment opportunities for VCs and investments funds, in the innovative companies supporting the maritime transition. In the field of maritime and decarbonization, 20 startups and scaleups were selected by Blumorpho to introduce their solution and challenge them with experts.

 

Let’s have a closer look at these options and their financing as well as their valuation.

Propulsion & Energy

One thing is certain: regarding decarbonization, we have not yet found the ultimate solution, as Sylvain Pagès (AlftinPartners) reminded us, but solutions do exist. New fuels will be crucial for achieving decarbonization, and reducing consumption is imperative to complete this transition. Christophe Paillusseau (AYRO) emphasizes that avoiding fuel combustion is indeed the most effective decarbonization method. Wind propulsion, offered by companies like Ayro, represents one option that some shipowners, such as Zéphyr & Borée, with Canopée, are already implementing.

Blumorpho Financing Maritime Innovation 168

The industry will require intermediate measures, such as dual fuel applications, to guide us through the transition towards net zero. Bart Huybrechts (CMB.TECH MCA) explains that the company has opted for hydrogen (ammonia) in dual fuel setups because it can lead to zero emissions while ensuring business continuity. Philippe Lavagna (SBM Offshore) also asserts that ammonia will play a significant role in this transition and reaffirms SBM’s commitment to ensuring its safety. Another option being studied is methanol. Nicolas Serrie (Khimod) explains that these molecules are easier to handle than others, despite their own set of challenges.

Opting for green and low-carbon alternatives tends to incur higher costs, and often companies are reluctant to pay a premium unless they see direct benefits from doing so. Babis Tsamkosoglou joined us to represent Purus, a shipowner and operator of 72 environmentally friendly vessels serving the low-carbon gas industry and offshore wind. Babis shares his experience and adds that a combination of carbon tax schemes and government subsidies for low-carbon practices is the right path to start giving the right value to such green and low-carbon practices. Indeed, in some business cases, the group could already see the impact of the introduction of the EU ETS scheme on decision-makers.

 

On the energy front, nuclear power is also being explored, as discussed with Westinghouse. Nuclear power density enables the massive production of carbon-neutral synthetic fuels, utilizing both heat and electricity to capitalize on existing carbon capture and H2 processes, while also supporting desalination and grid power. Although nuclear energy still faces challenges (regulation, public opinion), “its ability to deliver projects in a timely and cost-effective manner will be crucial”, explains Guillaume Tremblay (Westinghouse).

Sustainable finance and blue economy expert Joana Foglia (Blumorpho) adds that “decarbonizing the maritime industry presents significant challenges and costs. However, it is imperative to prioritize sustainable solutions over short-term gains. Opting for cheaper, less environmental-friendly alternatives today may seem appealing in the short term but will pose greater underlying risks for investors and the environment in the long run.

 

We must remain committed to finding and implementing sustainable solutions that ensure a greener, more resilient maritime industry for generations to come. And collaboration among stakeholders in the maritime sector remains a key value in achieving this goal.”

Blumorpho Financing Maritime Innovation 173

Carbon Capture & Sequestration

As we move into decarbonization, it is interesting to also work on Carbon Capture, which companies like Aerleum, TechnoCarbon are doing amazingly. “Decarbonization must happen in every step of the value chain. This includes infrastructure with TechnoCarbon, but also port operations, which is being done by companies like Gridmatrix, or carbon neutral fuel production with Aerleum” states Marine Hamelin (Blumorpho). Companies like Carbon Clean can also implement their solution directly on the vessels. This is looked at very closely by the Maritime Industry, as even though a lot of the fleet is too old for retrofit, some vessels could be retrofitted with carbon capture systems, increasing capex intensity for the sector, reminds us Emilie Espanet (New Energies Coalition). Furthermore, it is interesting to dive into Carbon Sequestration, and the topic of carbon credits.

Sébastien Fiederow (Aerleum) Financing Maritime Innovation and Infrastructure for Climate and Ocean, BLUMORPHO, Monaco Ocean Week 2024 Yacht Club de Monaco

Gigablue enhances a natural process by harnessing phytoplankton fixation and increasing sequestration efficiency. Using AI and biogeochemistry, Gigablue’s innovative particle facilitates carbon sequestration to depths of over 1,000 meters. Through measurement and analysis, Gigablue ensures effective carbon capture, utilizing its ocean intelligence platform to identify optimal sequestration areas globally.

This allows companies to also invest in their decarbonization now, and especially in blue carbon credits to complement their general net zero policy. These investments offer financial returns through carbon offsetting and participation in carbon markets, which leads us to the crucial topic of environmental accountability and data management.

Data & Environmental Reporting

As it was clearly stated by Sylvain Pagès (Altfin Partners), data is needed to prove environmental impact. Data is clearly the key to achieve environmental transition. Maritime companies will need to present strong data to prove their commitment to this transition and secure their financing. Therefore, digitalizing this activity and increase environmental reporting with transparency will improve access to financing.

Data collection for a better conservation of the Ocean is also the mission that SeaOrbiter is undertaking. This mission, introduced by Bill Todd (NASA), initiated by architect Jacques Rougerie and supported by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, is an iconic vessel meant to stay at sea for extended periods of time, for research and exploration purposes. This will be an incredible solution to develop a better knowledge of our Ocean and its biodiversity.  Francis Vallat, Founding and Honorary President of the Cluster Maritime Français reminds us: “There’s no longer any choice: the ocean is under attack, poisoned and sick, and needs to be better understood if it is to be protected and then cured. Otherwise, humanity is doomed… Sentinels like SeaOrbiter are no longer a possibility, they are a necessity”.

Francis Vallat (Cluster Maritime Français) Financing Maritime Innovation and Infrastructure for Climate and Ocean, BLUMORPHO, Monaco Ocean Week 2024 Yacht Club de Monaco

Monaco’s Commitment to Shipping

Sébastien Knecht de Massy (Chambre Monégasque du Shipping) Financing Maritime Innovation and Infrastructure for Climate and Ocean, BLUMORPHO, Monaco Ocean Week 2024 Yacht Club de Monaco

To many, Monaco is known as the capital of yachting, yet it is also a maritime and financial center. Sébastien Knecht de Massy, President of the Monaco Chamber of Shipping expresses the importance of this topic for the Principality of Monaco: “Monaco has had its own fleet of Merchant ships and naval vessels dating back to the 12th century. […] The Chamber of Shipping alone has over 40 member companies that are managing over a thousand ships, from tankers, bulkers, cruise vessels to cable layers.  In total there are over 200 maritime companies with over 600 people employed with close to €1B year in turnover. The topic of Financing of Maritime Innovation is of interest to the Chamber of shipping and to the shipping community in general is evident, we must comply with the new European Carbon Tax legislation, but also banks will not finance operations without a clear environmental strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Gatherings like this one are a great platform to meet and learn from one another.”

Romain Ciarlet, Secretary General and Executive Director of The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation joined this action and brought the Foundation’s approach on shipping. He explains that “shipping [having] a pivotal position at the intersection of ocean climate and biodiversity, [it makes] its environmental impact profound. To accelerate the green transformation of the industry, it is imperative to involve all stakeholders. This inclusive approach entails stringent regulations, fostering innovation, and making substantial investments on a large scale. By adopting a holistic strategy, we can effectively address the multifaceted challenges faced by the shipping sector. The Prince Albert II Foundation is ready to play its part through its philanthropic endeavors, impact investments, and awareness actions. With its commitment to preserving the global ocean, the Foundation can catalyze positive change and contribute to the transition towards a more environmentally responsible shipping industry.”

 

Maritime Expert Jean-Louis Bissuel (Blumorpho) concludes: “In the context of the exceptionally dense Monaco Ocean Week, and in particular with regard to the two days of round tables on the blue economy organized by the Monaco Scientific Center, the day organized by Blumorpho was a logical and very concrete follow-up to the main issues at stake in the decarbonization of the maritime world, a major objective for the next decade, constructive contact between the many experts in the main areas concerned, which calls for a continuation.”

 

These discussions underscore the industry’s willingness to go towards decarbonization. As highlighted by industry leaders, the imperative to reduce carbon emissions is driving innovation. Investment in clean propulsion technologies, alternative fuels, carbon capture solutions, and others shows the need of a multifaceted approach. Furthermore, it is necessary to take into account the role of data in proving environmental impact and securing financing. This gathering was only a first step, in emphasizing the importance of innovation, investment, and environmental regulation, and Blumorpho is committed to shaping a resilient industry by 2050 by building strong collaborations and generating revenue and invites you to join the action.

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