Maritime Forecast 2050 – Energy transition outlook 2018

The forecast for 2050 is exploring the maritime implications of a global transition towards an increased use of renewable energy and a diminishing use of fossil fuels. The focus of the report is the challenge of decarbonization facing the maritim industry, especially the shipping industry.

Cargo-carrying fleets account for 89% of the total fuel consumption. Thus, the reduction of GHG-emission is an important subject for the shipping industry.

Out of the relevant carbon neutral fuels when combined with  energy-efficiency measures (liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and methanol), LNG is the one that opens up for the largest reduction in GHG-emission.

  • The maximum achievable reduction in CO2-emissions during combustion of LNG is 25%, when compared with using heavy fuel oil (HFO).
  • LPG: the combination of low production and combustion emissions yields an overall GHG-emission reduction of about 17% compared with HFO or marine gas oil (MGO).
  • Using methanol in an internal combustion engine reduces CO2-emissions by approximately 10% compared with oil.

The future is hybrid

Electrification on ships will reduce the tank-to-propeller emissions significantly, but to obtain true zero emission the electricity itself must be produced by a zero emission technology, for example from renewable energy sources. The short-sea shipping segment currently has the highest potential for electric operations.


  • By 2050 39% of the shipping energy will be supplied by carbon neutral fuels.
  • Electric batteries charged from shore will be an energy source on a third of all ships from 2050.

Investing in energy efficiency and reduced carbon footprint beyond current standards seems to increase competitiveness over the lifetime of a vessel. In this way renewable energy is a contributor in keeping up the free competition in the shipping industry and the marin market in general.

By Martine Farstad