What is the potential role (if any) of sustainable biofuels for shipping?

SSI is holding a series of seminars and webinars to investigate the sustainability and availability of biofuels for shipping. We recognise that a number of questions surround the current, and potential future, sustainability and availability of biofuels – and we want to build a better understanding of the issues at play before deciding whether and how to proceed.

There is an urgent need for the radical decarbonisation of shipping. It’s time for the maritime industry to play its part in limiting global warming to 1.5°C, by transitioning from the current reliance on fossil fuels towards zero carbon fuels by 2050. Research commissioned by the SSI in 2018 revealed that zero-emission vessels need to be entering the world’s fleet by 2030 – and that advanced biofuels represent one of the more economically feasible options for shipping in that time-frame. 


Seminar 1: How sustainable are biofuels for shipping?
(WWF Brussels, 26 June 2019)

SSI held a seminar on the sustainability of biofuels in Brussels, hosted by SSI member WWF. Facilitated by Forum for the Future, the seminar provided an opportunity for a diverse range of views to be expressed on the key questions raised, providing rich insights and debate. Click here for more on what was discussed at seminar 1.


Seminar 2: What is the potential availability of
sustainable biofuels for shipping?
(IMO London, 11 July 2019)

SSI held a second seminar on the availability of sustainable biofuels at the International Maritime Organization in London. This seminar aimed to provide clarity as to why there is such a wide range of estimates of the future availability of sustainable biofuel and the implications of these various estimates for the decarbonisation of shipping. The seminar also explored whether sufficient sustainable biofuels will become available to meet the needs of the shipping sector. Click here for more on what was discussed at seminar 2.


Webinar: The sustainability of biofuels for shipping
(online, 12 August 2019)

Americas-based stakeholders who were unable to participate in the face-to-face seminars shared their views and contributed to the debate on whether and how biofuels can contribute to the decarbonisation of the shipping sector. The 90-minute webinar also served as an opportunity for SSI to share the insights it has gained from its investigation thus far. Click here for more on what was discussed at the webinar.


Climate Week NYC
What is the role of sustainable biofuels in shipping's decarbonisation?
New York, 25 September 2019

SSI hosted a high level event during Climate Week NYC 2019 under its energy transition track, marking the culmination of an in-depth stakeholder consultation throughout 2019 on the sustainability and availability of biofuels in the context of the industry’s transition to zero-emissions shipping.

Moderated by Forum for the Future’s Chief Executive, Sally Uren, the panel offered their views on the role of shipping in the broader energy transition; the risks and opportunities presented by biofuels to shipping; and the question of competition for biofuels with other sectors, such as aviation, among other questions.

Panelists were:
Manuel Pulgar Vidal, Leader of Climate & Energy Practice, WWF (former Environment Minister of Peru & President of COP20)
Gerard Ostheimer, Managing Director below50, WBCSD – World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Christine Weydig, Director, Office of Environmental and Energy Programs, The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
Kirsi Tikka, Independent Non-Executive Director
Adair Turner, Chair, Energy Transitions Commission
John Kornerup Bang, Head of Sustainability Strategy & Chief Climate Change Advisor, Maersk


Click here for more information and to watch a recording of SSI's Climate Week NYC event
Read more about our journey to Climate Week NYC