Multiple fuel options are on the table to reach zero emissions but all have their associated issues which need to be explored now both to identify the best of these options, and ensure they mature and become available.
The report, authored by Lloyds Register and UMAS, was geared to the needs and requirements of SSI members, who are mainly involved in deep-sea trades with container ships, bulk carriers and tankers. Shipping faces huge challenges in finding affordable zero-emission fuels, against a background of a sustained downturn in many parts of the sector, and a global requirement to keep transport costs low. In this environment, biofuels currently present the most affordable option for shipping, though great challenges remain in relation to the future availability, scale of production and sustainability of biofuels.
The report also examines electric power and hydrogen fuel cells, and takes note of the upstream CO2 emissions, which will need to be very low as these fuels will be judged on a “well to wake” whole lifecycle perspective. With development of other sector’s low carbon technologies and energy production’s decarbonisation it is expected that very low upstream emissions associated with these fuels will be achievable.
Dr Tristan Smith, Reader at UCL Energy Institute: “The shipping industry requires rapid technological changes to enable zero-emission ships: moving from fossil fuels to a combination of electricity (batteries), renewable fuels derived from hydrogen, and potentially bioenergy”
Dr Carlo Raucci, Principal Consultant at UMAS: “This study highlights the drivers, benefits and challenges of the most promising technologies. The shipping industry has a unique opportunity to contribute to the large potential for improvements of such technologies and aim for a profitable zero-emission service.”
Download the report