Cost-effective choices of marine fuels in a carbon-constrained world: results from a global energy model

Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Nov 4;48(21):12986-93. doi: 10.1021/es5018575. Epub 2014 Oct 23.


The regionalized Global Energy Transition model has been modified to include a more detailed shipping sector in order to assess what marine fuels and propulsion technologies might be cost-effective by 2050 when achieving an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 400 or 500 ppm by the year 2100. The robustness of the results was examined in a Monte Carlo analysis, varying uncertain parameters and technology options, including the amount of primary energy resources, the availability of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, and costs of different technologies and fuels. The four main findings are (i) it is cost-effective to start the phase out of fuel oil from the shipping sector in the next decade; (ii) natural gas-based fuels (liquefied natural gas and methanol) are the most probable substitutes during the study period; (iii) availability of CCS, the CO2 target, the liquefied natural gas tank cost and potential oil resources affect marine fuel choices significantly; and (iv) biofuels rarely play a major role in the shipping sector, due to limited supply and competition for bioenergy from other energy sectors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biofuels / economics
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis
  • Carbon* / analysis
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Energy-Generating Resources / economics*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Natural Gas / economics
  • Ships* / economics
  • Ships* / methods


  • Biofuels
  • Natural Gas
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Carbon