Future ships will sail greener but slower.
Scientists from the University of Antwerp and Delft Technical University conclude that future ships will sail greener but also slower. This study investigated which alternative fuels could be of interest to shipping and especially what impact they would have on the speed of ships. All the study models show that the industry needs to move towards slower sailing speeds. To meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, the maritime industry must also change course. The International Maritime Organisation already outlined a strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions from ships by half by 2050, compared to 2008.
The University of Antwerp indicated that several criteria had to be taken into account. The price of the alternative fuel is important, because shipping companies obviously want to keep transport costs as low as possible. Performance is also very important. Can ships sail longer with a certain fuel? Or should the speed actually be reduced? After a detailed analysis of alternative fuels, there were 3 fuels as most promising. Upgraded bio-oil, Fischer-Tropsch-Diesel (diesel from natural gas) and liquid bio methane. But as long as the current regulatory regime on CO2 emissions does not change, current mainstream fuels such as heavy fuel oil and liquefied natural gas will most likely remain dominant. However, stricter regulations will come that will ensure a transition to alternative fuels. This transition will have a significant impact on the entire transport chain.