If Greta has taught us one thing, it’s that trains are good and planes are bad. But without access to a zero-carbon yacht, what do you do if you need to cross Cook Strait?
At the moment, all public ferries operating here run on fossil fuels. Smaller boats use diesel that’s akin to what’s sold at petrol stations. But large vessels, including the Cook Strait ferries, burn a fuel made of leftovers from the refining process, says engineer Brent Yardley.
“Residuals are thicker, blacker and more polluting as they contain a lot of contaminants like toxic heavy metals. [They] commonly contain about 2 per cent sulphur by volume, which is two thousand times more than normal diesel.”
Litre for litre, the fuels’ carbon emissions are similar, Yardley says. “[But] particulates from shipping, mostly carbon, contribute to glacial melting as they darken the surface of the ice and…