Assessment of alternative fuels for seagoing vessels using Heavy Fuel Oil

Maritime Knowledge Centre, TNO, TU Delft

This report by the Maritime Knowledge Centre, TNO and TU Delft assesses various alternative fuels for deep sea and short sea shipping. It focuses on the technical feasibility and economic impact of the various fuels towards 2030 and 2050.

The report emphasizes that the main challenge for international shipping is making clean-shipping cheaper than non-clean-shipping. This can be done wither through cost reduction via technical or operational measures to reduce energy consumption or by increasing the cost of non-clean alternatives via taxation of emissions or subsidizing clean alternatives. It is also mentioned that tracking and labelling of GHG at the final consumer phase could create added value for the consumer.

As for the alternative fuels that should be stimulated, the report emphasizes that synfuels should not be stimulated until there is a surplus of wind and solar energy. This leaves biofuels as the most important option for GHG reduction in the coming 10-20 years. After this, if a switch to synfuels would be done, the transition from biofuels to synfuels could be done smoothly without new investments on ship engines and infrastructure. This applies for both drop-in biofuels , bio-LNG and bio-methanol. Moreover, bio-methanol and bio-LNG are the preferred options for the non-food based biofuel, because they can be produced at a similar costs as the food based biodiesels (HVO, FAME, PPO). However, bio-methanol is less suitable as a blending fuel due to the higher costs of fossil methanol.

The report concludes that a recommendable approach for reducing GHG emissions in shipping would be including instruments that target the shipping company (who would focus on reduction of energy consumption) and the fuel suppliers (who would focus on the GHG reduction of the fuel). The report states that instruments like the RED II with HBE system can create a level playing field and stimulate the production of more sustainable biofuel options. Namely, it recommends the inclusion of RED-II system with separate mandate for maritime and a transparent bio ticket system in shipping (e.g. HBE or carbon credits), but it emphasizes that a combination of different GHG reduction instruments are necessary at the same time.

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