MEPC 80 brings clarity to decarbonisation roadmap

Comments from WinGD CEO Dominik Schneiter

Taken together, the outcomes from MEPC 80 provide a clear incentive for investment by shipowners, fuel suppliers and technology providers to prepare for zero- and near-zero-carbon fuels. The high emissions reduction targeted for 2040 makes it clear that shipping’s decarbonisation needs to be well underway by that point, with regulatory measures – both economic and technical – in place by 2025 (and to enter into force in 2027) to support the transition.

We now know that maritime decarbonisation will be significantly incentivised from 2027 and needs to be largely achieved by 2040, reaching net-zero shortly after.

"Our first methanol and ammonia fuelled engines are due to enter service by 2026, allowing for the use of net-zero fuels when feedstocks come from sustainable sources."

That means that ship operators adopting these technologies when they are available will not only be ready to comply with the first requirements – namely the 5-10% target for zero- or near-zero carbon fuel use by 2030 – but will also have several years to gain experience with the technology before the first emission reduction targets.

WinGD also welcomes the further clarity on regulatory measures that will be put in place, comprising an economic, carbon pricing element as well as a technical fuel standard. Putting carbon pricing in place before emission reduction targets will drive a focus on energy efficiency, with ship operators incentivised to reduce fuel consumption. This strengthens the case for hybrid and other power sources even before new fuels are introduced, while these technologies – including our X-EL hybrid solution - will continue to be important when using alternative fuels to reduce exposure to high costs.

Lifecycle analysis

Important progress was also made on the lifecycle analysis guidelines for marine fuels. It is clear that the methane slip from LNG will be a factor in shipowners’ investment decisions. The guidelines’ default GHG intensity factor for LNG from low-pressure two-stroke engines does not reflect the performance of our most modern technologies, but we are pleased that the guidelines retain the option to certify new values as technology improves. This gives WinGD’s customers the ability to account for further reductions from using our existing X-DF2.0 technology, for example, as well as planned improvements targeting methane slip.

It is also now clear that a ship operating efficiently on fossil LNG using an X-DF engine will be compliant with IMO targets beyond 2030, giving around a decade of compliance before further measures are needed. To reach the 2040 target, fossil LNG will need to be gradually substituted by synthetic or bio-methane, which can be done without adapting today’s engine technology.

To cement the progress made at MEPC 80, IMO will need to deliver strong and effective measures as well as specifying how the emissions reduction targets will be applied to the global fleet. Meanwhile, ship operators reviewing the MEPC 80 outcomes can be assured that WinGD’s existing technology and technology development roadmap offer the decarbonisation solutions they need, before they need them.