The classification society Bureau Veritas (BV) has published a ´White Paper´ in which it makes a detailed analysis of the different alternative marine fuel options for the future and their climate impact and sustainability from a ´well to wake´ approach (from Well to Wake, WtW).
This approach takes into account all the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions released from the fuel extraction or production phase, its distribution and its final use on board ships, instead of being limited to the emissions resulting from combustion on board. The document evaluates alternative fuels such as biofuels, hydrogen and ammonia, highlighting their respective characteristics, advantages, challenges, availability, safety and GHG emissions.
Paul Delouche, Director of Strategy at Bureau Veritas and main author of the report, argues that the analysis of the different alternative fuel options must be done from ´the well to the wake´. “Only through a full life cycle analysis can the environmental impact of fuels be properly assessed. Understanding how these fuels are produced and transported is paramount,” explains Delouche.
According to the document presented by BV, the maritime sector will have several options for alternative fuels in the near future, depending on the types of ships, their sizes and their operational profiles, as well as the availability of said fuels, the infrastructures and the capacity supply. Access to large-scale renewable electricity will be key to producing e-fuels and hydrogen, as well as a cross-sector approach to sharing resources such as wind and solar power between shipping and other sectors.
Of all the options analysed, eco-fuels are the option with the greatest potential for reducing emissions, which the study puts at 90%. However, he stresses that huge investments will be required until they can completely replace fossil fuels in the maritime sector.
“The substitution of maritime fuels will require major changes in the entire fuel supply chain and logistics. This will have a huge impact on shipping companies around the world,” concluded Ulrik Dan Frørup, Commercial Director of Bureau Veritas Marine and Offshore.
The ‘White Paper’ Alternative Fuels Outlook for Shipping - an Overview of Alternative Fuels from a Well-to-Wake Perspective can be downloaded at the following link.