LR and SCC Study Finds Conventional Bunkers to Maintain Role in Shipping Fuel Mix

Wednesday October 19, 2016

A new report released by Lloyd's Register (LR) and Shipping in Changing Climates (SCC) on Wednesday suggests that conventional bunkers will continue to hold onto its role within shipping's fuel mix for some time to come, noting that "the fuel choice remains profitable relative to the competing alternatives."

The report, titled "Low Carbon Pathways 2050," also suggests that shipping should begin the process of decarbonisation as soon as possible, explaining that the later the process is left the faster and possibly more disruptive it will be for the shipping industry.

"The Paris Agreement confirmed that it was not a question of whether climate change should be addressed but a question of how, and it was clear that everyone will have to contribute," said LR Wednesday.

"Shipping currently accounts for 2.33 percent of global CO2 emissions and there will be no space in the carbon budget to allow even the emissions of shipping (currently approximately 1 Gt per annum) to be ignored."

The study explores whether all "possible" options intended for absolute reductions of a scale and timeliness are consistent with the Paris Agreement, and suggests that a substitute for fossil fuel will be required when energy efficiency improvements are not sufficient in the medium to long term to achieve emission reduction targets.

Batteries and renewable energy sources will play important roles, says the study, noting that utlision will likely still leave a requirement for a liquid fuel source.

Further, the study notes that additional regulations for other emissions, such as methane, black carbon, and particulate matter, may need to be considered.

"Clearly many questions remain and will need further thought and consultation. But at least this study makes clear 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," said Carlo Raucci of the SCC project.

LR and SCC say they will convene industry roundtable discussions focused on the findings of the report, facilitating the development of possible future scenarios with the industry in order to generate and share knowledge and tools for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping.

In the lead up to the 70th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 70), several organisations have issued calls for International Maritime Organization (IMO) member states to take action in addressing shipping's CO2 emissions.