The new study, to be launched on 29 January (see below for registration details), is the latest in LR’s Low Carbon Pathways 2050 Series. This series of reports produced in collaboration with industry partners Shipping in Changing Climates (SCC) and University Marine Advisory Services (UMAS), which includes Low Carbon Pathways 2050 and Zero Emission Vessels 2030, specifically addresses the decarbonisation challenge facing the shipping industry today.

We have already seen from these studies that we need to advance thinking beyond marginal gains in energy efficiency and alternative fossil fuels if we are to identify the sector's least-cost decarbonisation pathways. The need for shipping to start its decarbonisation imminently was also underlined - as stringency increases over time, increasingly high-cost mitigation steps are then required. The later we leave decarbonisation the more rapid and potentially disruptive it will be for shipping.

To achieve at least a 50% reduction in CO2 by 2050 and to be on course for a CO2 pathway consistent with the Paris Agreement, zero-emission vessels (ZEVs) need to be entering the fleet around 2030. What's more, a significant portion of new-builds will have to be zero emission to compensate for the non-zero emissions of the existing fleet.

So, what does this mean for ship owners and operators? From a practical perspective, if zero-emission vessels (ZEV) need to enter service by 2030 anyone planning to finance, design or build a ship in the 2020s will need to consider how it can switch to non-fossil fuel later in its operational life.

Our experience in innovative zero emission technologies, such as wind, hydrogen fuel cells and batteries, shows that the possibilities are there. But the next step is to demonstrate that these are viable alternatives to hydrocarbon propelled shipping, at least by 2030.

The next piece of the current puzzle is to help the industry answer the next set of questions in this complex challenge: what needs to happen for ship deployment? And what needs to happen to develop the supply infrastructure?

We have developed the new Transition Pathways study with our partners - UMAS - to address these questions by looking at the milestones, barriers and enablers over the specified timeframe, and considering cost implications, operating profile and how policy measures such as carbon pricing could influence this.

The study aims to show what is needed to enable the transition, both at the ship and supply infrastructure level, to support the development of an action plan to deliver zero-emission vessels to achieve the 2050 ambition and to demonstrate to all stakeholders that action can be taken now. The Transitions Pathways study considers all key energy sources including: renewable electricity, bio-energy and fossil-fuels with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and compares the different conditions to enable understanding of the actions we need to take now. Answering important questions such as:

  • How will ZEVs be safely adopted and operated?
  • What roles will actors like policy-makers, financiers and consumers need to play?
  • How much development do fuel technologies require to meet this target?
  • How will the industry address safety and emission concerns?
  • And what role will competitive pricing play in this transition?

We are delighted to be partnering with Nor-Shipping on the webinar launch of the new study. Nor-Shipping have highlighted ‘decarbonisation’ as one of the five opportunity areas where the maritime industry can positively impact the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and have recently launched their “Blue Economy” initiative. New business models and new ways of collaboration are needed for maritime to take the lead in the quest for a thriving and sustainable ocean economy. With this initiative, Nor-Shipping wants to enable a faster market up-take of solutions benefitting the maritime industry as well as our oceans, and to generate dialogue and ideation between maritime and ocean industries and will be dedicating Hall A at Nor-Shipping 2019 to Blue Economy.

The ‘Zero-Emission Vessels: Transition Pathways’ study was launched on 29 January 2019 during a webinar co-hosted by UMAS and moderated by Nor-Shipping.  

‘Zero-Emission Vessels: Transition Pathways’ is the latest in LR’s series of reports looking at fuel and technology trends for the marine industry, aimed at developing new knowledge and tools that can contribute to policy debate. Previous reports include Global Marine Trends 2030Global Marine Fuel Trends 2030 and Global Marine Technology Trends 2030Low Carbon Pathways 2050 and Zero Emission Vessels 2030.