This week, a Houston-based tech company FuelTrust announced the launch of its new digital solution – Carbon Baseline. The technology aims to help the maritime sector meet the International Maritime Organization (IMO) goal of reducing global carbon emissions by 50% by 2050 (since 2008).
For Carbon Baseline, FuelTrust created a cloud-based solution, which uses an AI “digital chemist” and blockchain technology. The requirement for carbon reduction in this industry is pressing, as ocean freight currently produces 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – more than aviation.
FuelTrust Carbon Baseline uses its patent-pending Digital Chemist AI, which uses historical data to calculate GHG emissions over a vessel’s lifetime. The calculation of past data is necessary because the 50% emissions target is based on a 2008 baseline.
Blockchain is used to store data in a tamper-proof or immutable manner. This makes it easier for fleets to request carbon credits, and the authorized blockchain allows only authorized people to view the data. Maintaining a truthful and accurate carbon benchmark is not only important for a vessel’s environmental credentials, but can also have major financial implications, as tax levies and other financial decisions are calculated based on vessel performance.
“With Carbon Baseline, class or flag authorities can receive a more accurate, third-party verified report of the emissions reductions actually achieved, which means the fleet owner, their customers and their investors can benefit. “said Darren Shelton, chief product officer at FuelTrust.
The technology is based on precise data provided by AI Digital Chemist, which takes into account combustion calculations at the molecular level of different fuels, “source to smoke”. Data on consumption patterns, trip information and annual fuel life cycles can then be determined.
One problem with the blockchain is that the data can be immutable, but you need to make sure the stored information is accurate before adding it to the blockchain. For example, in other industries, such as automated insurance payouts for weather events, there are concerns that some people are tampering with the weather sensors used to store data on the blockchain. People could simply coordinate with others to hose down known sensors with garden hoses to claim flood insurance.
While the AI Digital Chemist can be a great solution for current emissions, assessing historical GHG emissions should be based on past data. If this source data is inaccurate, the immutable data stored on the blockchain will not be reliable.
Meanwhile, this industry has already applied blockchain applications, with BunkerTrace launching its DNA and blockchain solution for fuel tracing in 2019. This technology uses synthetic DNA to tag the ID of fuel used in maritime vessels to create a log of its origin and properties.