A report authored for the charity Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) has stated that advanced biofuels may represent the most economically feasible zero-emission alternative for the shipping industry.
Penned by Lloyd’s Register (LR) and University Maritime Advisory Services (UMAS), the study, published this week, states: “The fact that biofuels can be used in a way that very closely mirrors current technology, i.e. through internal combustion, means that associated additional costs are kept to a minimum of the fuel price itself.”
Under the scenarios projected in the study, the costs involved with switching to biofuels were deemed to be “within the realm of acceptability for many in the industry”.
Stephanie Draper, co-chair of the SSI, commented: “The report makes clear that the technology is with us today, but investment is needed both to bring the technology to scale and to encourage a wider take-up. The shipping industry will need multiple solutions, and investment for different technologies – not just biofuels – to reach beyond fuel efficiency to decarbonisation.”
The report also examines electric power and hydrogen fuel cells, and takes note of the upstream CO2 emissions which need to be resolved as these fuels will have to be judged on an environmental performance from ‘well to wake’, and not just on emissions from ships.
Looking at hydrogen fuel cells the study raises the question of whether companies or consumers would pay more for goods with a zero emission transport sticker on them.
“With the ability to pass on voyage cost excess to the supply chain, effectively providing a premium on a zero emission service, the magnitude of the competitiveness gap decreases hugely, and may indeed already render hydrogen fuel cells economically feasible for certain operators and routes,” the report noted.
The full report can be accessed by clicking here.