As the maritime industry strives to achieve ambitious decarbonisation targets against the tightest of regulatory timelines, can switching existing vessels to cleaner fuels buy time?

With thousands of large ships potentially still running on fossil fuels by 2050, retrofitting engines for new fuels could be crucial for shipping’s net-zero trajectory. But how ready is the technology and industry to carry out conversions?

In this podcast, Riviera Maritime Media’s Edwin Lampert is joined by Mark Penfold, Technical Director at LR, and a lead author of our Engine Retrofit Report, and Stam Achillas, Head of Business Development and Sales 2-stroke/Decarbonisation Solutions at Wärtsilä. 

Together they unpack the demand for retrofitting, the uncertainties surrounding fuel availability and policy signals, and the potential role of retrofits in achieving net-zero shipping.

Tune in to hear:

  • Why engine swaps emerge as a key climate measure despite limited LNG retrofit uptake, as noted in Lloyd’s Register’s report
  • What milestones, such as regulatory progress and existing engine designs, place methanol close to conversion scalability while ammonia lags
  • How customising kits to various engines and fuels aids flexibility but risks complexity
  • Why enhancing shipyard skills and capacity, including welding capabilities and fuel handling during commissioning, emerges as a barrier for rapid transitions
  • How charter premiums, carbon pricing, and fuel costs shape investment appetites
  • What ’ready’ labels and proposed rating schemes indicate about modification efforts, and the potential role of standardised charter party terms or specifications
  • Why container and cruise vessels, considering factors like vessel age and trade route, are seen as leading candidates for retrofits

The discussion also explores the role of regulatory frameworks like the IGF Code and interim guidelines in accelerating the adoption of alternative fuels, the importance of considering efficiency alongside fuel changes in retrofit projects, and the need for techno-economic modelling and advisory services to evaluate retrofit viability on a case-by-case basis.

Retrofitting ship engines for alternative fuels

Retrofitting ship engines for alternative fuels is becoming a viable long term strategic approach to emission reduction being considered by ship owners.