A new series of reports by the World Bank have identified ammonia and hydrogen as the current favourite zero-carbon bunker fuel options for shipping’s decarbonisation
The global lending institution’s first report characterised the two emissions-free fuel options as more scalable and more competitive on cost than biofuel or synthetic carbon-based options known as e-fuels.
Titled, Volume 1: The Potential of Zero-Carbon Bunker Fuels in Developing Countries, a World Bank publication summarising the report said the two fuels “strike the most advantageous balance of favourable features relating to their lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, broader environmental factors, scalability, economics, and technical and safety implications”.
The study cited ammonia and hydrogen’s multiple production routes as a factor in the fuels’ suitability for helping shipping to reach net-zero carbon emissions. It highlighted so-called ‘blue’ versions of the fuels which see the fuels produced from natural gas combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS).
“These multiple production pathways can help overcome concerns that not enough renewable electricity may be available initially to produce ‘green’ ammonia and ‘green’ hydrogen only,” the World Bank publication said.
‘Blue’ fuels are distinguished from ‘green’ versions of the fuels, which are derived from renewable energy.
The World Bank also cited issues of availability with biofuels and synthetic e-fuels as reasons to prioritise ammonia and hydrogen in the quest to establish zero-carbon bunker fuel supply chains.
“While biofuels and synthetic carbon-based bunker fuels also demonstrate high technical potential for use as zero-carbon bunker fuels, ensuring large-scale supply is likely to be constrained by the limited availability of, and competing demands for, sustainable biomass and lower cost competitiveness, respectively,” the World Bank publication said.
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