Oil and gas giant Shell on Monday launched its first electric ferry at its Singapore energy and chemicals plant, Reuters reports.

A company spokesperson said it would work with the city-state’s port authority to cut emissions from ships.

The ferry, named Penguin Refresh, is the first of a planned series of 200-seater electric commuter ferries located at its large refinery/petrochemical complex on the island of Palau Bukom. It will start operating in May, with another two ferries expected to be ready by August. These will begin to replace the diesel-powered boats currently in use.

The move comes after Singapore’s port authority announced a new rule in March requiring all new harbour craft to be electric or run on biofuels or net-zero fuels from 2030.

“The transition to a sustainable future will take time. We need to start now to achieve our 2050 net zero emissions targets,” senior minister of state for transport Chee Hong Tat said at the time.

Shell Eastern Trading signed a memorandum of understanding with the port authority to develop the charging infrastructure necessary for electric vessels. It also said it will conduct research for low- and zero-carbon fuels over the next five years, Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) said on Monday.

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The MPA said that charging ports at the plant will also be available to other electric harbour craft users. It also said that Shell will explore the feasibility of expanding shore charging infrastructure on the island.

Shell also plans to run a hydrogen fuel cell trial on one of its chartered vessels later this year, according to a statement from Shell Shipping and Maritime general manager Nick Potter. The first zero-emissions fuel cell ferry, powered by hydrogen fuel cells and batteries, began trials in San Francisco, US, in March.

In another attempt to cut emissions at its Singapore plant, Shell announced in 2021 plans to build a pyrolysis oil upgrader to turn plastic waste into chemical feedstock. However, the process is not commercially proven and has been criticised for the high amounts of energy it consumes.