Maritime Forecast to 2050

This year’s Maritime Forecast to 2050 presents an updated outlook on regulations, drivers, technologies and fuel availability.



As the entire world seeks to decarbonize, the maritime industry is owning its part in ensuring our greener future. The search for the best alternative fuel options and technologies have started. But available energy sources, needed to produce zero-emission fuels, must be used sensibly and with considerations and collaboration beyond maritime.

This year’s Maritime Forecast to 2050 presents an updated outlook on regulations, drivers, technologies and fuel availability. From that a new and extended fuel-mix scenario library has been created, with each scenario describing a possible future fleet composition, its energy use and fuel mix, and emissions to 2050.

The future carbon-neutral fuel mix has not yet been decided. However, to supply several of the carbon-neutral fuel options, the supply chains will need to change dramatically. Being flexible as a shipowner remains key to taking advantage of future fuel availability.


From 2025 the focus will shift to calculating lifecycle GHG emissions, creating an additional urgency for a green supply chain to control emission costs

For shipowners the pressure is on to build and run compliant, low emission vessels and to make sure charterers know how to run these efficiently.

The IMO Strategy will be revised in 2023, possibly strengthening its emission-reduction ambitions. This will be followed by developing the next wave of regulations including market-based measures setting a price on CO2 and a requirement to account for well-to wake GHG emission intensity of fuels.

The EU has proposed to include shipping in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The FuelEU Maritime regulation which aims to increase the use of carbon-neutral fuels through an increasingly stringent well-to-wake GHG intensity requirement. These proposals may be finally adopted later in 2022 and take affect from 2024 and 2025, respectively.

Government and authority incentives are necessary to encourage first movers to invest and be part of pilot initiatives such as green corridors, which can form the basis of a global zero-carbon fuel market.

Energy sources and production capacity

Fuel availability is increasingly becoming an energy and production resource challenge and less of a technical challenge

Key onboard technologies for use of hydrogen and ammonia will be available in 3-8 years, while other technologies for methanol already are.

Shipping’s energy transition is reliant on, but might be constrained by, the availability and price of energy sources: electricity from renewable sources, biomass, or fossil energy with CCS.

To maximise the potential of biomass, it should be reserved for hard to abate sectors like aviation and shipping.

Provided energy can be made available, production capacity will be a barrier and must be scaled up to meet shipping’s coming demand for carbon-neutral fuels.

For shipowners to choose carbon-neutral fuels, the fuels must be available in relevant ports, and coordinated plans must be made for increasing availability: from extracting energy from an energy source, to fuel production and distribution.

Fuel mix scenarios

The push for decarbonization is accelerating and the more ambitious scenarios see a mix of carbon-neutral fuels only.

Big cargo owners have already set more ambitious targets for decarbonisation and expect low- and zero-emission shipping services to be in place this decade.

Already by 2030, 5% of the energy for shipping should come from carbon-neutral fuels.

The carbon-neutral fuels dominating the energy mix in 2050 are likely to be bio-MGO, and bio-LNG, e-ammonia and blue ammonia, and bio-methanol.

In Decarbonization by 2050 scenarios, all fossil fuels are eliminated. Grid electricity provides around 7-8% of total energy, while 92-93% comes from carbon-neutral fuels.

The decarbonization by 2050 scenarios require about 2,5 times as much carbon-neutral fuel, with about 2,5 times the capital needed for investments on-shore.

In the scenarios aiming for Decarbonization by 2050 the share of drop-in fuels decreases and the need for investments in ammonia and methanol technology increases.

Carbon-Risk Framework 

DNV’s further updated Carbon-Risk Framework supports shipowners in finding the most efficient and cost-effective ship designs.

DNV’s focus this year is to investigate how availability of energy sources and other key input factors for fuel production, and price assumptions on emerging fuels, technologies, and retrofits, affects the future fuel mix and the uptake of carbon-neutral fuels.



This article is shared by courtesy of DNV, an independent expert in assurance and risk management.

For more articles about maritime forecasts, click HERE.


Narjiss Ghajour

Editor-in-Chief of Maritime Professionals

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