Adoption of zero-emission fuels in the near-term is a critical step towards a decarbonised future for the shipping industry. This is recognised by the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2023 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) strategy’s target for between 5% and 10% of shipping’s energy demand to come from near-zero GHG emission sources by 2030. Meeting this ambitious target necessitates substantial near-term infrastructure investments across production, distribution, and utilization of scalable zero GHG emission fuels.

While the revised IMO GHG strategy provides a broad global demand signal, the specific trajectory of zero GHG emission fuel demand development remains uncertain. Fuel producers are faced with questions regarding where demand will first develop, how quickly it will scale, and how to efficiently develop early supply infrastructure.

Developed in partnership with UMAS, our report uses the supply of ammonia fuel to two UK port clusters as a case study to explore the challenges around supply and demand of early-mover zero GHG emission fuels globally. It describes how, although zero GHG emission fuel production costs will likely be lower in overseas locations in the near-term, countries such as the UK have an opportunity to kick-start the transition; delivering on climate policy commitments while making use of existing assets, supporting energy security, and realising economic opportunities.

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Opportunities for the UK to kick-start shipping’s transition to zero greenhouse gas emission fuel