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DNV GL: Ammonia & methanol most ‘promising’ carbon neutral bunker fuel for 2050

23 Sep 2020

Classification Society DNV GL on Monday (27 July) said it has released the fourth edition of its paper Maritime Forecast to 2050.

The purpose of Maritime Forecast to 2050 is to enhance the ability of shipping stakeholders, especially shipowners, to navigate the technological, regulatory and market uncertainties in the industry, and set shipping on a pathway to decarbonization, said DNV GL. 

It is based on a library of 30 scenarios which project future fleet composition, energy use, fuel mix, and CO2 emissions to 2050. Sixteen different fuel types and 10 fuel technology systems are modelled in the report.

“The grand challenge of our time is finding a pathway towards decarbonization,” said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV GL – Maritime. 

“Reducing GHG emissions is rapidly becoming the defining decision-making factor for the future of the shipping industry. The pressure to act decisively is mounting. Perfect is the enemy of good, and so we mustn’t wait for an ideal solution to arrive and risk making no progress at all. 

“Using a wide range of scenarios involving different fuel types and technologies, and varying degrees of regulatory pressure, our new report helps to map a way forward, offering shipowners clear insights on how to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

DNV GL noted Maritime Forecast to 2050 has identified the choice of fuel as the essential factor in decarbonizing shipping. 

This increasingly diverse fuel environment means that engine and fuel choice now represent potential risks that could lead to a stranded asset. Factoring in the impacts of availability, prices and policy, on different fuels, makes the choice even more complex.

To capture this complexity and help make this picture clearer the Maritime Forecast offers a wide range of scenarios, outlining the potential risks of a particular fuel choice, it explained. 

The 30 scenarios result in widely different outcomes for the fuel mix in the fleet. In the scenarios with no decarbonization ambitions, very low sulphur fuel oil, marine gas oil and LNG dominate. 

While under the decarbonization pathways, in 2050 a variety of carbon-neutral fuels holds between 60% and 100% market share.

Under the decarbonization scenarios it is hard to identify clear winners among the many different fuel options, it said. 

Fossil LNG gains a significant share until regulations tighten in 2030 or 2040. Bio-MGO, e-MGO, bio-LNG and e-LNG emerge as drop-in fuels for existing ships.

By 2050, E-ammonia, blue ammonia and bio-methanol frequently end up with a strong share of the market and are the most promising carbon-neutral fuels in the long run, it noted.

A surprising result from the model is the relatively limited uptake of hydrogen as a ship fuel, as a result of both the estimated price of the fuel and the investment costs for the engine and fuel systems, added DNV GL. 

Hydrogen, however, plays an integral role as a building block in the production of several carbon-neutral fuels such as e-ammonia, blue ammonia and e-methanol, all of which gain significant uptake under the decarbonization pathways. 

It may also find niche applications in some vessel types, such as ferries and cruise vessels, as well as in specific regions where investments have been made into local production and distribution.

Maritime Forecast to 2050 is part of a suite of Energy Transition Outlook (ETO) reports produced by DNV GL. 

A full copy of DNV GL’s report is available for download here.


Photo credit: DNV GL
Published: 23 September, 2020

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