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A Comparative Review of Alternative Fuels for the Maritime Sector: Economic, Technology, and Policy Challenges for Clean Energy Implementation


Global maritime transportation is responsible for around 3% of total anthropogenic green‐ house gas emissions and significant proportions of SOx, NOx, and PM emissions. Considering the predicted growth in shipping volumes to 2050, greenhouse gas emissions from ships must be cut by 75–85% per ton‐mile to meet Paris Agreement goals. This study reviews the potential of a range of alternative fuels for decarbonisation in maritime. A systematic literature review and information synthesis method was applied to evaluate fuel characteristics, production pathways, utilization technologies, energy efficiency, lifecycle environmental performance, economic viability, and cur‐ rent applicable policies. Alternative fuels are essential to decarbonisation in international shipping. However, findings suggest there is no single route to deliver the required greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Emissions reductions vary widely depending on the production pathways of the fuel. Alternative fuels utilising a carbon‐intensive production pathway will not provide decarbonisation, instead shifting emissions elsewhere in the supply chain. Ultimately, a system‐wide perspective to creating an effective policy framework is required in order to promote the adoption of alternative propulsion technologies.

Funding source: This research was funded by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund, under the Interreg 2 Seas Program, project award Implementation of Ship Hybridisation (ISHY) and the APC was kindly waived by the journal.
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: United Kingdom

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