Marine fuel alterntives for a low carbon future - market influence on the pathways selected
Paper in proceeding, 2015

Decrease in carbon dioxide emissions was not the driver when shipping started to investigate fuel alternatives to replace the traditional heavy fuel oil. Instead it was regulations of sulphur contents in fuel in sulphur emission control areas (SECA). The dominating driving forces for a ship-owner to change fuel are regulations and price. The result will thus be an economic based fuel choice among those fuels fulfilling present regulations rather than a long term sustainable alternative. A fuel change is usually also connected to a capital cost for conversion and infrastructure that has to be compensated by lower fuel price. Fuels used in SECA areas today are low sulphur marine gas oil (LSMGO), “hybrid fuels” (heavy fuel oils that has been blended to low sulphur contents), LNG or methanol. LNG and methanol in addition to fulfilling sulphur regulations also provide a pathway to renewable fuel and have low emissions of nitrogen oxides and particles. However, in the past years, the economic incentive has changed from a favourable situation for the “clean” fuels like LNG or methanol towards traditional fuels fulfilling only sulphur regulations. Decisions are today based entirely on the fast changing prices, providing a selection of fuels that fulfil only present regulations and excluding possible future regulations or customer demands. The long-term pathway towards sustainability with a change into fossil free fuel production is not taken into account. In the paper, the relation between the many possible drivers as well as the implications of market changes for decrease of greenhouse gas emissions will be further discussed.

Alternative marine fuels


Emission control areas






Karin Andersson

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology

Selma Brynolf

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

International Conference on Shipping in Changing Climates - Technologies, Operations, Logistics and Policies Towards Meeting 2050 Emission Targets, Glasgow, UK

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance



Subject Categories

Energy Engineering

Vehicle Engineering

Environmental Sciences

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