Shipping industry must not wait for ideal fuel solution: DNV-GL

The shipping industry’s “grand challenge” of decarbonization will have to rely on a mix of fuels, rather than wait for the ideal solution to arrive, according to DNV-GL.

The consultancy said in its Maritime Forecast to 2050 report that currently there are at least 16 different fuel types and 10 fuel technology systems in the shipping industry. 

The report identified 30 scenarios capturing the “complexity” of finding a clearer winner among the existing choices. It found that in a no decarbonization ambitions pathway, very low-sulphur fuel oil, marine gas oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) will dominate.

Under decarbonization pathways, in 2050, a variety of carbon-neutral fuels hold between 60-100% market share. LNG gains a significant share in shipping fuel until regulation tightens in 2030 and 2040, Kallanish Energy learns.

“Bio-MGO, e-MGO, bio-LNG and e-LNG emerge as drop-in fuels for existing ships,” the report said. “By 2050, e-ammonia, blue ammonia and bio-methanol end up with a strong share of the market and are the most promising carbon-neutral fuels in the long run.”

A “surprising” finding was that hydrogen would have a relatively “limited” uptake as a ship fuel, due to its price and investment costs to adapt the fleet. Yet, hydrogen will have a role to play in the production chain of other fuels, such as ammonia.

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