Decarbonising the Oceans: Strategies for Sustainable Marine Fuel

Sustainable Marine Fuel

Posted on Nov 20, 2023 at 09:11 PM

When we think about sustainability, we all imagine cars, traffic pollution, and land waste, but did you know that the maritime industry produces a hundred times more carbon emissions than a traffic jam ever could?

That's because shipping is a global market, ships travel a very long time, and vessels require much more energy than your average car or bus. Sustainable marine fuel is the solution to all these environmental problems.

Let's look at some of these sustainable fuels and how they can reduce the environmental impact of shipping.

 What are alternative marine fuels?

Compared to other sectors, the shipping market constitutes one of the most significant pollutants on Earth. IMO’s recent report shows that shipping alone contributes about 3% of overall global carbon dioxide emissions and more than many other kinds of transport.

That explains why countries across the globe are looking for methods to decarbonise the shipping process, like switching to alternative marine fuels such as methanol gas (Summeth) instead of conventional ones that use oils.

But what are these fuels? 

Sustainable marine fuel types are produced from renewable sources, such as hydrogen, ammonia and biofuels. The idea behind using these green fuels is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases GHG emitted into the atmosphere and help improve air quality, eventually leading to a reduction in shipping's environmental effect and making the boating journey from port to port more sustainable.


The benefits of sustainable marine fuels

Sustainable marine fuel can serve as one of the alternatives to regular fuels and reduce the carbon footprint of marine vessels. The other benefits of these fuels include:

  • Reduced carbon emissions

Carbon emissions in the marine shipping industry could be drastically reduced using sustainable marine fuels, such as biofuel, hydrogenated vegetable oil, biodiesel, and methanol; the production process of these fuels creates less carbon, thus contributing to fighting climate change.


  • Clean air 

Combusting fossil fuel in ships leads to harmful pollutants (i.e. sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide) that destroy air quality in ports. However, using sustainable marine fuels will minimise environmental degradation, waste production, and potential public health hazards in ships (in case of an oil spill, for example).


  • Less dependence on fossil fuels

Sustainable marine fuels will help curb the world's reliance on depleting fossil fuels that have dominated the industry for years. Sustainable marine fuels are not just an alternative for today’s problems but also ensure their consistent availability in the future.


  • Improved corporate responsibility

This use of sustainable marine fuels represents corporate responsibility and leadership. Companies that use sustainable marine fuels in their supply chain are generally perceived as good environmental stewards, which will positively contribute to the firm’s image and brand reputation.


  • Regulatory compliance

Several counties and shipping ports across the globe are introducing even more restrictive rules to prevent their release into the atmosphere. Using environmentally friendly marine fuel in the shipping life cycle contributes to compliance with the growing regulatory requirements on ships, allowing for the avoidance of penalties and fines.


How do you start implementing sustainable marine fuel in your business?

When you're looking into starting a new project in the marine business, and you want it to function cost-effectively, investing in sustainable marine fuel may be one of the best solutions to the issue of sustainability, as well as meeting your financial goals.

That's why you should take the initiative and implement sustainable marine fuel to power your voyages through these steps:

Sustainable Marine Fuel

  • Based on everything we've said, it's evident that the transformation into sustainable marine fuel is a long and arduous process. So, instead of starting from scratch, find out if your current fuel supplier already offers sustainable marine energy for sale. If not, you can start considering other options.

  • Research the topic: Conduct a thorough analysis of sustainable marine fuel and how it can be implemented in your business, study the steps you need to do to convert to green fuels and understand how the development happens and the different stages, or request help from a professional at a marine training centre for further aid.

  • Consider all costs and benefits of implementing sustainable marine fuel into your business model, and check out if there are any risks you can forecast or any support you might need.

  • Retrofit existing vessels or purchase new ones: Retrofitting existing ships to accommodate sustainable marine fuels can reduce environmental impact and ensure compliance with regulations.  Instead, acquiring vessels equipped with sustainable marine fuel technology upfront may prove a more financially viable long-run option.

  • Discuss your options with your stakeholders, create estimates for each step and discuss your opportunities before moving forward. Should you build new ships? Should you develop a new strategy to implement these fuels?


Sustainable marine fuel has demonstrated excellent potential for growth and improvement in the sustainability department, and it's an opportunity for every company to produce better products with lesser environmental impact, so get ahead of the curve and invest in this technology today!