Alternative fuels have become increasingly important in the maritime sector as a response to stricter environmental regulations, giving rise to a host of implications in terms of managing costs and logistical operations. With the growing challenge of climate change, there is now a greater need to find sustainable and renewable energy sources for this sector.

Fuel for thought is an insightful and comprehensive series of reports and webinars on alternative fuel choices for shipping. With environmental concerns and stringent regulations driving the need for cleaner and greener shipping, this innovative series provides valuable insights into the challenges, benefits and practicalities of using alternative fuels. 

In this series, we will explore the latest developments in this area, including methanol, biofuels, hydrogen, ammonia, and others, examining their potential to transform the shipping industry in the years ahead. Through expert analysis and critical insights, we aim to provide a comprehensive and informative overview of the emerging trends and opportunities in this rapidly evolving field.

Alternative Fuels

  • Methanol
  • Ammonia
  • Hydrogen

icon depicting methanol

Methanol, a versatile and readily available chemical that can be produced from a variety of renewable sources and is being considered as one of the potential alternative fuels for shipping as the sector continues its journey towards decarbonisation. 

The world is constantly in search of new and innovative ways to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and move towards clean energy sources. One such option that has gained increased attention in recent years is methanol.

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Ammonia can be used in a variety of marine engines, including dual-fuel engines that can switch between ammonia and conventional fuels. Its high energy density and low viscosity make it a suitable option for long-range shipping operations.

However, the widespread adoption of ammonia as a marine fuel faces challenges related to storage and bunkering infrastructure. Safe and efficient handling of ammonia requires specialised equipment and facilities, which are currently limited in the shipping industry. 

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Hydrogen emerges as a promising candidate, offering the potential for zero-emission operation. Green hydrogen, produced through electrolysis powered by renewable energy, could hold the key to sustainability. When used in fuel cells, it generates electricity with only water vapor as a byproduct, eliminating harmful pollutants.

Hydrogen's low energy density compared to conventional fuels necessitates larger storage tanks, impacting ship design and cargo capacity. Additionally, the technology is nascent, with infrastructure for production, distribution, and bunkering still in its early stages. Several initiatives are underway with pilot projects of hydrogen-powered vessels potentially demonstrating the feasibility of this technology. Research focuses on improving storage methods and developing efficient engines. 

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Maritime training - Introduction to Alternative fuels and technologies

This course covers LNG, biofuels, methanol, ammonia, hydrogen, and electrification: properties, production pathways, safety and design considerations, and barriers to deployment.

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0:32 Fuel for Thought with LR