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Launched today at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25) in Madrid, the Sustainable Shipping Initiative’s report, The Role of Sustainable Biofuels in the Decarbonisation of Shipping, outlines the findings of an inquiry into the sustainability and availability of biofuels.

The report, which is based on the results of an inquiry commissioned in January this year, suggests that in the short term biofuels could have a significant role to play to accelerate early decarbonisation across the maritime sector. The data highlights that that ‘the sustainable biofuels currently available are under-utilised and could potentially meet shipping’s energy needs of today’.

However, the report notes this supply may be limited in the medium- and longer term – particularly given the ratcheting up of climate ambition and therefore potential demand pressure across all sectors.

Andrew Stephens, Executive Director at SSI, commented on the findings of the study: ‘In 2018, SSI-commissioned research, which revealed that zero-emission vessels need to be entering the world’s fleet by 2030, citing advanced biofuels as one of the more economically feasible options, amongst a possible range of low/zero carbon fuels for the shipping industry.

‘SSI supports a zero-emission shipping sector by 2050 whilst being both fuel- and technology-agnostic. We’re also about collaboration across the entire shipping value chain. Through this inquiry we have canvassed a diverse range of perspectives, from a wide range of stakeholders, surrounding the issues of sustainability and availability of biofuels for shipping. We’re very pleased to be sharing our findings with (and beyond) the maritime industry to contribute to its decarbonisation efforts.’

Lloyd’s Register is an SSI member and Katharine Palmer, its Global Sustainability Manager, also noted: ‘If shipping is to successfully decarbonise by 2050 and get zero-emission vessels into the market by 2030, urgent action is needed now.

‘Last year, we identified biofuels may have a role to play in the short-term in our Zero-Emission Vessels 2030 study, outlining its key issues – availability and sustainability. SSI’s latest report is the next chapter, investigating biofuels’ role in shipping’s decarbonisation journey, answering key questions about its durability as a long-term fuel and its associated risk landscape.

'This report will help maritime decision-makers evaluate biofuels to see if it is a suitable pathway for them and rightfully continue the discussion about zero carbon alternatives in maritime.’

The full report can be accessed here.

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