Project: Low Carbon Commercial Shipping Study

Reference: SRT 7/5/9

Last update: 17/06/2009 16:31:21


- Giving DfT a better understanding of the technological options for low carbon commercial shipping and their long term economic viability.
- Informing DfT's contribution to the Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy.
- Allowing DfT to determine whether further work in this area is necessary.


An overview report into the future technological options for low carbon commercial shipping and their long term economic viability.

This research will inform the Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy which will be used by other stakeholders as a basis for further work into meeting the UK's carbon reduction targets.


AEA Technology Environment
Harwell Business Centre, Didcot, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QJ
+44 (0)1235 432201

University of Newcastle upon Tyne
1 Park Terrace, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU
0191 222 6000

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £25,000.00

Actual start date: 28 November 2006

Actual completion date: 16 March 2007


Low Carbon Commercial Shipping
Author: AEA Energy & Environment / University of Newcastle
Publication date: 31/05/2007
Source: National Archive - DfT Website
More information:

Summary of results

  1. Overall the review has shown that the most promising low carbon technologies are as follows:

    . improvements to current propulsion technologies;
    . using biodiesel; and
    . wind assisted propulsion.

    The study has indicated that it would be possible to use these three options in the short term to help reduce carbon emissions from the shipping sector. In addition to using technologies to reduce carbon emissions from ships, consideration should also be given to promoting the use of effective fleet management, as this has been shown to have significant impacts on fuel consumption, and hence carbon emissions.

    The study has shown that other technologies for reducing carbon emissions are unlikely to be viable in the short-to-medium term as in most cases the technologies are not fully developed or they are not currently economically viable. Additionally, for nuclear power, there are public acceptability and perceived safety issues that mean that it is unlikely that this technology will be used for commercial ships in the short or medium term. Although these other technologies are not currently viable options for reducing carbon emissions from the commercial shipping sector, it is possible that they may become attractive in the future should there be changes in fuel prices, regulations, or in their costs.