ABS Outlook

ABS Outlook: Alternative Fuels Will Be Key to Reaching IMO Low Carbon Targets

The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has launched its Low Carbon Shipping Outlook with the aim of evaluating ways of achieving emissions-reduction goals.

Illustration; Source: Pxhere under the CC0 Creative Commons license

The outlook (available for download here) defines ship technologies, operational efficiencies and alternative fuels and energy sources needed to reach the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2030 and 2050 targets.

According to ABS, the 2030 targets can be met through operational measures and efficiencies, driven by connectivity and data analytics and energy efficient design, while fuels are in focus to get to 2050. The conceptual designs confirm that the fuel technology today does not meet the 2050 demands.

ABS said the challenge to adopt alternative fuels globally was best illustrated by the fact that it has taken 10 years for LNG bunkering infrastructure to develop and supply less than 1 percent of the global fleet. Other alternative fuels would face similar infrastructure development, regulatory and supply chain challenges, it was noted.

“Despite all the noise and confusion about IMO 2020, the disruption from the global sulphur cap is likely to be dwarfed by what comes after it. The greatest challenge of our generation – and the next – will be the decarbonization of the shipping industry,” Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President and CEO, said.

“That’s why ABS has published this outlook to inform the shipping industry as it journeys into the unknown waters of the 2030/2050 emissions challenge. It is designed to help bring into focus the numerous issues surrounding the decarbonization movement as it evolves from today’s ambitions to tomorrow’s reality.”

To assess the potential of the main operational options available to shipping, ABS commissioned a study from Maritime Strategies International (MSI) to analyze the potential impact on the industry’s carbon footprint.

ABS also worked with the Herbert Engineering Corporation to specify design requirements for two concept containerships which, while too advanced to be built today, shine a light on the gap between state-of-the-art technology and the demands of the 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) targets.

Speaking to World Maritime News on the shipping industry’s decarbonization goals in May 2018, Kirsi Tikka, Executive Vice President, Senior Maritime Advisor, at ABS, shed more light on the challenges lying ahead. Among others, Tikka explained that collaboration by all stakeholders as well as sufficient investment in technology development are crucial to achieve the envisaged decarbonization goals.