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Hydrogen and ammonia the best long-term fuel options, say owners

Nearly 60% of shipowners surveyed see hydrogen and ammonia as the most attractive future fuels.

Image credit: Pixabay

Updated on 27 May 2020 10:29 GMT

Shipowners see ammonia and hydrogen as the best marine fuel options for the future, according to a survey conducted by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).

Almost 60 percent of shipowner respondents said they viewed hydrogen and ammonia as the most attractive fuel choices in the long-term.

The survey also revealed nearly two thirds of owners currently have no decarbonization strategy in place.

When asked which fuel is most likely to be adopted in the near term, 70 percent selected fuels in the light gas pathway, which includes LNG in the short term and hydrogen as a future solution.

"It is clear that the industry views both hydrogen and ammonia as the long-term destination but sees LNG as having a big role to play in addressing the regulatory challenge immediately in front of us. These results are in line with the findings in our recently released Low Carbon Shipping Outlook. Based on the fuel pathways that we have identified and can shape the future of marine propulsion, hydrogen and ammonia are solutions that are expected to contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions in the long term. LNG, as the most mature of the alternative fuel solutions, can pave the way to a less carbon-intensive maritime industry," said Georgios Plevrakis, ABS Global Sustainability Director.

"This is at the heart of the ABS approach and the solutions we offer around alternative fuels. We are working through our network of Sustainability Centers with global clients to define solutions to meet regulatory and market demands related to greenhouse gas reduction," Plevrakis added.

GHG ratings

A separate survey revealed the vast majority are routinely using greenhouse gas (GHG) ratings in their business decision making. Around 80 percent agreed or strongly agreed that GHG ratings were an important factor in their business decision making, and nearly half said they had already begun implementing options for GHG rating improvement.

Lefteris Karaminas, ABS Global Sustainability Manager, remarked: "As shipowners and operators look to improve their environmental ratings to both maintain and attract potential charters, they face complex decisions on how best to identify, report and reduce GHG emissions.

"A key takeaway from the webinar is that owners taking advantage of accelerated GHG rating improvement options like the non-permanent Engine Power Limitation (EPL) are finding the benefits only temporary, as other vessels in the peer group take on improvements or new more efficient vessels enter the peer group. It will be necessary to consider alternative options, including combinations, in order to remain competitive and increase their ratings in the long term."

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