News ID: 80444 |
Publish Date: 08:45 - 20 October 2019

IEA says efficiencies could drive shipping's decarbonisation

A new projection by the IEA lends credence to ongoing efforts by industry and governments to improve energy efficiency of vessels. In a sustainable future scenario, energy efficiency could account for around 55% of shipping's slash in emissions.

Alternative fuels, especially ammonia, will also play a crucial role but energy efficiency could be the biggest factor


ENERGY efficiencies could drive the majority of shipping’s decarbonisation as low carbon fuels a smaller role, according to a projection from the International Energy Agency.

Apostolos Petropoulos, the IEA’s World Energy Outlook energy modeller, said energy efficiency improvements could account for 55% of shipping’s decarbonisation trajectory, if new relevant policies and measures are deployed.

This comes in a scenario that takes into account what would need to happen to meet the Paris Agreement targets and also incorporates the IMO’s initial greenhouse gas emissions strategy, which commits to slashing shipping's total annual emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared with 2008.

“Energy efficiency is the primary fuel of succeeding [at] that,” Mr Petropoulos said during a presentation at the International Maritime Organization. 

Alternative fuels, like hydrogen and biofuels, would make up for the vast majority of the remaining share of the sector's decarbonisation, he said.

“There is a good candidate there that is ammonia. It is already a tradable product and there is already infrastructure there to also deploy in the shipping industry.” 

As the IMO seeks to deliver on its emissions promise, present focus is more heavily on the shorter term target of the strategy, which is to improve shipping’s carbon intensity by 40% by 2030.

Governments and industry at the moment are particularly consumed with improving energy efficiency, either through vessel operations, such as engine power and speed or vessel design.

The IEA expects under its sustainable future scenario that the transport sector’s total emissions would drop from around 8 gigatons CO2 equivalent today to less than 5 gigatons by 2050, Mr Petropoulos said.

Shipping would have about a 2.5% share of  total global GHG emissions. Today they account for about 2%, he added.

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