For a successful net-zero transition the maritime industry needs to accelerate digitalization

  • By using digital tools the industry can achieve energy savings of up to 15% by 2050
  • Model-based simulation and optimization facilitate more energy efficient ship designs
  • The uptake of digital twins is growing. They can demonstrate cost-efficient fuel and technology paths and help keep GHG emissions below the desired decarbonisation targets. In operation, the digital twin will continuously learn and update itself via sensor data.
  • Continuous digital monitoring, routing and planning supports optimizing the GHG performance and early warning of discrepancies. This enables operators to pro-actively adapt their measures also leading to an overall improvement of the vessel’s efficiency.
  • Better integration and communication between ships, shore offices and ports will enable improved planning, scheduling and logistics, further increasing fleet utilization.
  • DNV supports maritime stakeholders with a broad range of digital services data collection and digital reporting tools, that save time and costs and enable digital monitoring and ensures quality-checked data.

Points of interest

  • Key barriers against the uptake of low/zero carbon fuels include increased capital investment, limited fuel availability, a lack of global bunkering infrastructure, high fuel prices and additional storage space demand onboard. The severity of barriers against implementation will vary between fuel types.
  • Existing barriers against the uptake of carbon-neutral fuels could make a business case for continued use of fossil fuels, as blue fuels with onboard carbon capture and storage (CCS). But the availability of blue fuels depends on the effectiveness of carbon capture, as well as and an infrastructure for permanent storage of the carbon. Ports might also play an important role as hubs within the carbon dioxide capture and storage infrastructure – if CCS emerges as a viable option for ships. The Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and the Northern Light consortium50 involving the ports of Oslo and Bergen in Norway are already actively involved in CCS.
  • The production of electro fuels for shipping will require massive amounts of additional renewable energy production capacity to be installed.
  • For sustainable biofuels, feedstock availability is a potential barrier. However, studies show that there are large amounts of biomass, that can be used to create fuel for ships, either as oil, methane, or methanol, e.g., forestry residue, agricultural waste, used cooking oil.
  • By 2030, 5% of carbon neutral fuels are expected to be available.
  • Distribution cost will vary based on the properties of the fuels, with high distribution costs for cryogenic fuels. However, distribution cost can be reduced depending on existing distribution infrastructure. For ammonia and methanol there already exists a significant shipping network annually transporting on the order of 50 million tons in total. If such an amount of methanol and ammonia were to be used as fuel for ships, it could substitute 25 million tons of oil, about 10% of the world fleet’s energy demand. This infrastructure can possibly be used and serve as a starting point for a distribution network for the use of ammonia and methanol as fuels for shipping, bringing down the “last-mile” distribution costs for these fuels.
  • Shipping’s future fuel market will be more diverse, reliant on multiple energy sources, as well as more interconnected and integrated with regional energy markets, regional energy production, and with regional industry. The operational profiles will play an increasing role in the choice of the future fuels for individual assets and fleets.