Tristan Smith of UCL says shipping will need "either a radical change in fuel or a radical change in speed."
Tristan Smith, a reader at University College London (UCL), says alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, will replace HFO as shippers are forced to use new energy sources in order to comply with tighter regulation on carbon emissions, Tanker Shipping & Trade reports.
Smith predicts that, if goals of the Paris agreement are to be met, CO2 emissions per tonne-mile will be required to be reduced by 60 to 90 percent by 2050, which he says will necessitate "either a radical change in fuel or a radical change in speed."
However, Smith adds that, because it makes little sense to operate at slow speeds, the utilisation of new fuels is inevitable, with much of the funding supporting them likely to be organised by charterers.
Smith says fuel cell-powered ships are likely to dominate, drawing their energy from fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia.
He explains that charterers will fill such a large role in the development of such technologies, as they "carry the risk of the shipowners not being ready for decarbonised regulation" and, without new fuelling technologies, "will be paying much higher rates because they will be paying the extra carbon price."
Ruling out biofuel as a long-term option, Smith says fuel cell-powered ships are likely to dominate, drawing their energy from fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia.
"The market and technologies will be where the winning fuel will be determined," Smith told Tanker Shipping & Trade.
Smith is certainly not alone in his views on the need for alternative bunker fuels; only last week the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) warned that an ambitious and dramatic reduction in C02 emissions from shipping "will only be achievable with alternative marine fuels which do not yet exist."
That follow comments from Dr Michael Traut, Research Associate at the Tyndall Centre, University of Manchester, who last year told Ship & Bunker that decarbonisation and the replacement of traditional bunkers with alternative fuels or other technology is the only way the shipping industry can adequately reduce its emissions in line with the COP21 global climate deal.