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May 18, 2018

Study finds biofuels most affordable alternative for shipping

A study from charity organisation Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) has revealed that biofuels are the most affordable zero-emission option for shipping.

A study from charity organisation Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) has revealed that biofuels are the most affordable zero-emission option for shipping.

However, the industry still has a long way to go in terms of production and sustainability of biofuels.

The current shipping industry is battling with huge challenges to find affordable zero-emission fuels in the wake of weak financial returns and the global requirement to keep transport costs minimal.

The study, prepared by Lloyd’s Register and University Maritime Advisory Services (UMAS), evaluated electric power and hydrogen fuel cells.

It also noted that the issue of upstream carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions should 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.

The study found that the shipping sector, which has been covered by the Paris Agreement, would benefit from other land-based technologies and energy production to help reduce upstream emissions.

“The shipping industry will need multiple solutions and investment for different technologies – not just biofuels – to reach beyond fuel efficiency to decarbonisation.”

SSI co-chair Stephanie Draper said: “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 latest report expects to serve the SSI members, who are primarily engaged in deep-sea trades with container ships, bulk carriers and tankers.

SSI general manager Tom Holmer said: “Alternative marine fuels provide a huge opportunity for creating value and finding sustainable solutions.

“The SSI will continue to look at the whole value chain and this report highlights that the next ten years will see huge changes in the way ships are fuelled.”

SSI primarily includes representatives from the entire shipping value chain ranging from charterers and ship owners to class societies and technology companies.

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