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The increasing use of alternative fuels in vessels boost decarbonization

The latest statistics from DNV's Alternative Fuels Insight (AFI) platform reveal that a total of 298 alternative fuel propulsion ships were ordered in 2023, representing an increase of 8% on the previous year

With increasing pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including stricter targets set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in July 2023, the maritime sector is considering various decarbonisation options. Through its AFI platform, DNV records industry efforts related to new shipbuilding and retrofitting with 298 orders for ships capable of running on alternative fuels registered in 2023, and a total of 1,281 ships overall.

"As we navigate towards a greener maritime future, the growing demand for alternatively fuelled ships speaks for itself. These orders send crucial signals to fuel suppliers and other important players in shipping's decarbonisation journey. While “It is clear that the technological transition of marine fuels is already underway, we must now ensure that the fuels that power these engines are available,” says Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of Maritime.

“However, it is crucial to emphasize that focusing solely on fuels can divert our attention from making a significant impact this decade. What is required are concrete measures that actively reduce emissions. “Energy efficiency initiatives can deliver decarbonisation results, both now and through 2030,” continues Ørbeck-Nilssen.

By a small margin, methanol emerged as the most popular alternative fuel option in 2023, with 138 ships on order (excluding methanol carriers), a sharp increase compared to 35 on order to run on this fuel the previous year. The dominant segment for this fuel was container ships (106), followed by bulk carriers (13) and automobile transporters (10).

The second alternative fuel chosen in 2023 was LNG, with 130 vessels on order, up from 222 in 2022. However, looking at newbuilds alone, LNG would be in the lead, with a considerable proportion of methanol orders They were for adaptations. Last year also marked the moment when LNG finally surpassed the 1,000-vessel barrier (excluding LNG carriers), showing the continued importance of this fuel in the maritime energy transition. In 2023, the container segment was the most active (48) for LNG, followed by car carriers (40) and oil tankers (30). Last year also saw the first orders for vessels intended to run on ammonia (11), while, with just five orders, hydrogen was a less popular option compared to the previous year (18).

“Investments in alternative fuel vessels have been largely driven by the construction boom of new container ships and car carriers over the past three years. It remains to be seen whether this trend continues in 2024,” says Martin Wold, Principal Consultant Maritime Advisory at DNV.

Source: Interempresas (shipping industry)