March 1, 2022

New fuels report focuses on sustainability and life cycle

The Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (Low Carbon GIA), a partnership under the IMO-Norway GreenVoyage2050 Project, has released a report on sustainability criteria and life cycle GHG emission assessment methods and standards for alternative marine fuels.

The study, undertaken by Ricardo Energy & Environment, mapped existing standards, regulations and calculation methods and tools, covering Well to Tank (WtT) and Tank to Wake (TtW) emissions. The study aimed to understand the coverage of this governance infrastructure and its applicability to marine fuels.

Researchers used three case study fuel pathways to evaluate and identify methodological differences using the calculation methods and tools:

  1. Synthetic methane (e-LNG) using renewable energy;
  2. Ammonia (utilizing carbon capture and storage (CCS)); and
  3. Biodiesel (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO)) from soybeans.

The fuel pathways, which represent very different potential scenarios, were selected as they provided researchers with a range of fuel types and production processes to fully evaluate the methodologies used. Their selection does not reflective of an expectation or recommendation that these specific fuels will be significant future marine fuels.

The most significant differences in the methodology comparisons were found to be around co-product allocation, land use change, grid electricity and calculation of the global warming potential impact.

The information in the report is expected to assist IMO Member States and the maritime industry in gaining a better understanding of the environmental impacts of alternative fuel options for the sector.

The report has been submitted to the upcoming Intersessional meeting of the Working Group on reduction of GHG emissions from ships (ISWG-GHG 11) that will take place from 14 – 18 March, 2022. ISWG-GHG 11 is working on the on the development of Lifecycle GHG and carbon intensity assessment guidelines for marine fuels (LCA Guidelines). The full study is available here.