Transition Pathways for Hydrogen Based Electro-Fuels within the Maritime Industry

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Bartlett Sch of Env, Energy & Resources


To achieve the emissions reductions required by the initial GHG strategy, a transition to low/zero carbon fuels throughout the maritime industry is necessary. A transition of this type and magnitude requires adaptation of multiple industry elements to facilitate alteration of the dominant operational model for shipping. However, the widespread adoption of alternative fuels and/or technologies necessitates an initial development of understanding concerning their practical application within the maritime industry. It is through such an understanding that relevant information for industry practitioners, the primary agents through which a transition of this nature would occur, may be obtained. Therefore, the objective of the research project is to advance understanding on the potential of electro-fuels within the maritime industry and identify the transition pathways through which their implementation may be facilitated. This objective is to be addressed through the following research questions;
1. What alternative fuels and/or technologies have a potential for utilisation within the maritime industry?
2. What are the influential operational and/or organisational characteristics for adoption of alternative fuels and/or technologies?
3. Which alternative fuels and/or technologies have the greatest adoption potential according to these characteristics?
4. What are the transition pathways that facilitate implementation of electro-fuels within the maritime industry?


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509577/1 30/09/2016 24/03/2022
1920817 Studentship EP/N509577/1 24/09/2017 30/03/2022 Colin Robertshaw
Description Collaborative Study 
Organisation Lloyd's Register
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The contribution of relevant information on alternative fuels and technologies required for the 'Zero-Emission Vessels: Transition Pathways' study, undertaken by University Maritime Advisory Services (UMAS) in collaboration with the classification society Lloyd's Register (LR). This involved the specification of the production pathways for the alternative fuels considered within the study, comprising their source material requirements, the associated conversion processes, methods for the temporary storage of products and means for their subsequent transportation. In addition, the compilation of the characteristics pertaining to these production pathways was also undertaken, including those relating to costs of implementation, emissions attributable to the processes, levels of technological readiness, the availability of requisite resources, etc. This was followed by the method formation and calculation of fuel production cost estimates and emissions attributable to the individual pathways and products, documented within the supplement report 'Fuel Production Cost Estimates and Assumptions' for the study. Additional contributions were made to the study through the provision of further information that formed elements within the supplement and main reports 'Safety Considerations for the Use of Zero-Carbon Fuels and Technologies' and 'Zero-Emissions Vessels: Transition Pathways'.
Collaborator Contribution Individuals within both UMAS and LR were involved in all aspects of the collaborative study, beginning with its preliminary formation, specification of its intended scope and the envisioned format for the anticipated outputs. Those within LR were active and necessary participants for the study in all details of its undertaking, involving the compilation of requisite information, the consideration of the methods adopted, the critical review of calculations undertaken, revision of output materials, etc. LR should also be credited with the responsibility for the hosting, publication and dissemination of the output materials resulting from the study, comprising three reports, one main and two supplementary, and their associated presentations, etc. Individuals within UMAS were also active and necessary participants in the creation of these output materials, involved in the formation of the methods adopted, the compilation of information, the calculation and analysis of content, modelling of systems, specification of scenarios, etc. A selection of those individuals involved in the study and its undertaking from inception were also involved in the live stream presentation of the output materials upon its completion, which should be credited to both UMAS and LR.
Impact 'Zero-Emissions Vessels: Transition Pathways' Main Study Report 'Fuel Production Cost Estimates and Assumptions' Supplementary Report 'Safety Considerations for the Use of Zero-Carbon Fuels and Technologies' Supplementary Report
Start Year 2018
Description Industry Consultation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact An informal consultation with a leading maritime protection and indemnity insurance company was undertaken, prompted by an increased number of queries from clients relating to the prospective use of alternative fuels and technologies onboard their vessels. This resulted in discussions surrounding the subject area and the request to provide relevant information on the alternatives that are available and under consideration within the maritime industry, in addition to reasoned opinions on the prospects for the various options. The compilation of this information was undertaken and provided in a tabulated format, commencing with the physical, chemical, volumetric and gravimetric characteristics of the alternative fuels that are available and under consideration for use within the maritime industry. In addition, information surrounding the methods for production, onboard storage requirements, handling considerations, regulatory requirements, etc. were also included, in combination with safety characteristics specific to the intended application. These safety characteristics were presented in relation to the hazards posed to personnel onboard, the structure and integrity of the vessel, and use specifically within the maritime environment for each of the available products in a comparative format of assessment. This was well received and accompanied with suggestions for the creation of a discursive article to be made available to clients through publication, intended to provide and overview of the considerations that are required in relation to the use of alternative fuels and technologies onboard their vessels.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
Description Infographic 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The compilation of relevant information for an infographic outlining the alternative fuels that are available to the maritime industry and their necessity for compliance with future emission regulations, which are orientated towards decarbonisation. This comprises information on the following:
• the emissions reductions that are required for compliance with future regulations;
• the levels of reductions that are achievable through efficiency improvement technologies;
• the alternative fuels that are available for use within the maritime industry;
• the relevance of the production methods in relation to the decarbonisation objective;
• an overview of the issues surrounding product variants of alternative fuels, i.e. production limitations.
The infographic was created in collaboration with University Maritime Advisory Services (UMAS) and has been made available in an open access format within the public domain, intended for free sharing between any parties that are interested to do so. This was launched in a digital format on social media in July 2019, achieving over 35k impressions and 550 engagements within the first month, with copies made available for use during presentations undertaken within UMAS. In its physical format the infographic was also made available for use at conferences and events associated with UMAS, and also within the main entrance to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019