Carbon robust ships to navigate energy transition

A new model for evaluating the 'carbon robustness' of ships is proposed in DNV GL's Maritime Forecast to 2050 (credit: DNV GL) A new model for evaluating the 'carbon robustness' of ships is proposed in DNV GL's Maritime Forecast to 2050 (credit: DNV GL)

DNV GL has developed its concept of a ‘carbon robust’ ship as part of its Maritime Forecast to 2050, exploring the impact of the energy transition on shipping.

The forecast offers a new model that evaluates fuel and technology options by comparing the break-even costs of a design to that of the competing fleet of ships. This aims to support maritime stakeholders in evaluating the long-term competitiveness of their vessels and fleet and to future-proof their assets.

A case study using the model in several vessel designs reveals some striking findings, including that investing in energy efficiency and reduced carbon footprint beyond existing standards can increase the competitiveness of a vessel over its lifetime. The study also suggests that owners of high-emitting vessels could be exposed to significant market risks in 2030 and 2040.

Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO, DNV GL – Maritime, explained that the ‘carbon robust’ approach looks at future CO2 regulations and requirements, emphasising flexibility, safety, and long-term competitiveness to enable solid decision making on assets.

He said: “Decarbonization will be one of the megatrends that will shape the maritime industry over the next decades, especially in light of the new IMO greenhouse gas strategy. Combined with the current and future trends in technology and regulations, this means that investment decisions should be examined through a new lens.”

“The energy transition is undeniable,” said Remi Eriksen, group president and CEO, DNV GL. “Last year, more gigawatts of renewable energy were added than those from fossil fuels and this is reflected in where lenders are putting their money.”

The forecast examines recent changes in shipping activity and fuel consumption, future developments in the types and levels of cargoes transported, and future regulations, fuels and technology drivers. It predicts a rise of nearly a third (32%) in seaborne-trade measured in tonne-miles for 2016–2030, but only 5% growth over the period 2030–2050.

NOTE: The Motorship is at the launch of the Energy Transition Outlook and Maritime Forecast to 2050 and will bring updates to this story throughout the morning.


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