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Green agenda in shipping: what's on trend

by Samantha Greene / Nov 23, 2022 / 5m

The International Chamber of Shipping estimates that there are about 50.000 trading vessels currently operating around the globe. They account for 98% of global shipping and are powered by good old fossil fuels. You can imagine how great the pressure on the maritime industry to reduce its carbon footprint is.

Every couple of days the news on ecological advances in shipping appears in major outlets. There’s so much information that it’s simply impossible to keep track of what alternative fuel is on trend, who built what, and which carrier is the greenest of them all.

In this post we discuss the fuels that will replace bunker fuel and the fascinating prospect of cargo ships with sails coming back to the sea.

What’s in a fuel? LNG or Methanol?

Nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide, and carbon oxide are the harmful substances emitted by ships powered by fuel oil (bunker). It’s a common consensus that these gasses contribute to the greenhouse effect and should be diminished or eliminated completely from the process of shipping. The current aim is to reduce harmful emissions from cargo vessels by 50% by 2050. 

Shipping companies are in search of the best alternative to fuel oil. What will that be? There is no consensus about that at all. Right now the most hyped fuels that might replace bunker are liquefied natural gas (LNG) and methanol. Let’s have a brief look at the advantages and disadvantages of the fuels in question.