Lloyd’s Register (LR) and University Maritime Advisory Services have released a study that aims to demonstrate the viability of zero-emission vessels (ZEVs) and identify how they will become a competitive option for decarbonization.
According to the report, ZEVs will need to begin entering the fleet by 2030, and make up a significant number of new builds from then on, to achieve carbon reductions in line with the Paris Agreement.
Though none of the ZEVs examined in the study are estimated to be more cost competitive than conventional shipping by 2030, it notes that options are “evolving rapidly”. If price gaps fail to close, there may be need for regulatory intervention to drive the viability of zero-emissions technologies.
The report assesses seven technology options for ZEVs, applied to five different case study ship types across three different regulatory and economic scenarios.
These options consist of various combinations of battery, synthetic fuels and biofuel for the onboard storage of energy, coupled with either a fuel cell and motor, internal combustion engine; or a motor for the conversion of that energy store into the mechanical and electrical energy required for propulsion and auxiliary services.
The costs of some associated components — including fuel cells, batteries, and hydrogen storage — could be reduced if they become crucial to another sector’s decarbonization, or if action taken during shipping’s transition aids the technology’s development.
For those in shipping with established access to low-cost, zero-emission energy sources, or an ability to pass on a voyage cost premium to a supply chain that values zero-emission services, the gap may already be closed.
“There is no doubt that decarbonisation is a huge challenge for our sector and that we all have a clear responsibility to ensure actions are taken to drive our operational emissions to zero at a pace matching actions taken across the rest of the world and other industry sectors,” says Katharine Palmer, LR’s global sustainability manager.