Challenges & Realities In Maritime Fuel Transition


The shipping industry is undergoing a significant transformation due to the green shift and upcoming regulations such as FuelEU Maritime, says an article published on gasum website.

Industry Shift & Emission Challenges

Green Transition: The maritime industry is undergoing a transformative shift, driven by environmental concerns and upcoming regulations like FuelEU Maritime.

Emission Impact: Maritime shipping contributes significantly to global emissions—3% of CO2, 10–15% of SOx and NOx—compelling the industry to transition to low-emission fuels.

Synthetic Fuels, Challenges And Realities

Challenges in Synthetic Fuel Adoption

  1. Green Electricity Demand

Issue: Synthetic fuels (hydrogen, methanol, ammonia) face challenges due to a substantial need for green electricity, exceeding current industry capacities.

  1. Infrastructure and Availability

Hurdle: Limited bunkering infrastructure and availability hinder the short-term viability of synthetic fuels.

  1. Energy Intensity

Challenge: The energy-intensive production process, especially for green hydrogen, poses a barrier to widespread adoption.

Realities In Maritime Fuel Options

  1. Methane-Based Fuels: LNG, LBG, And Synthetic Methane

Advantages: LNG can cut emissions by up to 20%, while LBG achieves up to a 90% lifecycle emission reduction, aiding compliance with regulations.

Flexibility: LNG and LBG offer flexible blend options and future-proofing, allowing seamless transitions without modifications, reducing emissions.

  1. Green Hydrogen: Promises And Challenges

Promise: Produced through electrolysis, green hydrogen boasts zero emissions when consumed.

Challenges: Highly energy-intensive production, low energy efficiency, and potential transportation hazards hinder widespread adoption, especially for long-haul shipping.

  1. Ammonia: Infrastructure Challenges And Toxicity

Carbon-Free Option: Synthesized using green hydrogen, ammonia is carbon-free.

Challenges: Lack of bunkering infrastructure, inherent toxicity, and the absence of standardized regulations for handling present obstacles.

  1. Liquid Biofuels: Environmentally Friendly But Expensive

Carbon-Neutral Option: Derived from organic materials, liquid biofuels offer a carbon-neutral alternative.

Challenges: High prices, limited scalable feedstock, competition with food production, and energy-intensive production processes pose obstacles.

  1. Green Methanol: Market Challenges

Renewable Source: Green methanol, produced from waste biomass and captured CO2, is compatible with existing systems.

Challenges: Despite lower carbon emissions, production demands substantial electricity, and securing sufficient green methanol is crucial.

Expert Perspectives

Jacob Granqvist, Vice President of Gasum Maritime, emphasizes the impracticality of relying on synthetic fuels or batteries due to the immense energy scale required for long-haul maritime transportations.


While promising, the widescale use of synthetic fuels faces immediate challenges related to green electricity demand, infrastructure limitations, and handling complexities.

In contrast, methane-based fuels—LNG, LBG, and synthetic methane—emerge as pragmatic, available, and future-ready choices, providing an immediate solution for emission reduction in the maritime sector. The industry must navigate these realities to steer towards a sustainable and cleaner future.

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Source: gasum


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