The proposal aims to spur development of low- and zero-carbon fuels through an IMO regulation requiring industry-wide contributions at the point of purchase for fossil fuels
The proposed R&D programme would be overseen by IMO and financed through industry contributions set at a flat US$2 per tonne of fossil-based marine fuel consumed.
Associations backing the proposal include BIMCO, Cruise Lines International Association, Intercargo, Interferry, the International Chamber of Shipping, Intertanko, the International Parcel Tankers Association and the World Shipping Council.
A statement from BIMCO said the R&D programme would be managed through a non-governmental entity, an International Maritime Research and Development Board or IMRB.
"The co-sponsors emphasise that for the proposal to work, the R&D contributions need to be mandatory via an IMO regulation, to ensure that all shipping companies globally contribute in a fair and equitable manner, and that the necessary funds will be generated to achieve the programme’s objectives," a BIMCO statement said.
The BIMCO statement claimed that the proposal was receiving positive support from governments with a caveat that issues of governance would need to be settled.
"The industry is eager to work with governments to ensure this initiative is implemented as soon as possible and calls on the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) to support the development of the IMRB concept at its critical meeting starting 16 November. The IMO 2050 climate targets can only be achieved with the immediate acceleration of zero-carbon fuels and technologies, and the IMRB is a crucial vehicle for driving the progress needed to decarbonise the shipping industry," the BIMCO statement said.
The BIMCO statement also expressed the position that significant hurdles remain to be overcome to enable the shipping industry to make use of low- and zero-carbon fuels.
"There are several potential solutions, such as hydrogen or ammonia produced from renewable energy sources, but these do not yet exist in a scale or form that can be applied to large ocean-going ships," the statement said. "A host of complex technical questions remain to be answered, including safety, storage, distribution, energy density considerations and lifecycle impacts. In short, we do not yet know what the fuels of the future will be."
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