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New Energy World magazine logo
New Energy World magazine logo
ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Full sail ahead for decarbonisation of marine fuels


8 min read

Vessel at sea equipped with equipped with four collapsible vertical sails Photo: Tom Van Oossanen
The world’s most advanced hybrid wind-assisted cargo vessel, Zéphyr & Borée’s Navire Ariane 6 Canopée, is equipped with four collapsible vertical Oceanwings, and has begun operations between European ports and French Guiana

Photo: Tom Van Oossanen

Significant marine fuel decarbonisation initiatives are underway in pursuit of zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to comply with the latest International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations. New Energy World Features Editor Brian Davis shares highlights from a recent IMarEST (Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology) presentation by leading marine engineer Robert McMahon on the radical changes and challenges taking place.

Following the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels, the IMO introduced a Clean Energy Strategy for the marine sector to reduce carbon emissions to 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2050. Revised GHG limits were introduced this July, targeting 30% carbon reduction by 2030, 80% by 2040 and zero by 2050.


‘This puts pressure on the industry,’ says McMahon. ‘New ships need to have a design index and an efficiency plan and measurement plan, with a CO2 intensity indicator and an operational carbon intensity plan which has to be certified by a surveyor and submitted to the IMO so ships get a rating next year.’ The rating will go from A to E, where A is the best and E is the worst. The measures will cover bulk ships, cruise ships, passenger ships and container ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above for GHG emissions reduction (representing 85% of the total GHG emissions from international shipping).


Control measures cover heavy fuel oil (HFO) and scrubbers, low sulphur fuel, slow steaming, energy power limiting, exhaust gas recovery and energy saving technology. The International Energy Agency (IEA) notes that: ‘The first fuel is energy efficiency’ – or fuel that isn’t needed or burned – when it comes to limiting carbon emissions.


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