:Life-cycle Assessment of power system configurations to decarbonise an inland ship

    Activity: Invited talk or paper presentationOral presentation


    Inland waterways are important for the transportation of goods and passengers. A significant contributor to economic development, emissions from vessels using these waterways are contributing to climate change, pollution, and other issues. Ambitious policies to reduce greenhouse gas, SOx, and NOx emissions, require sweeping changes in propulsion and fuel technology. Hydrogen and electricity are recognised as pathways for vessel decarbonisation; however, mismanagement of production may increase overall life cycle emissions. This study identifies appropriate alternative fuel technologies for inland vessels to mitigate climate change and deliver emission reduction over the fuel life cycle. A comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was performed on marine gas oil (MGO), hydrogen, and electrical propulsion systems, with multiple production pathways for an inland sightseeing barge operating across northwest Europe. The assessment demonstrated that hydrogen and electrical propulsion technologies have potential for 85.7% and 56.2% life cycle emissions reduction against an MGO base case, respectively. The results highlighted that implementation of both technologies is dependent on energy production pathways. Hydrogen systems reliant on fossil feedstocks risk an increase in emissions of up to 6.3% against MGO. Sensitivity analysis indicated renewable electricity to be the most promising pathway to achieve net-zero emissions operation, with a potential to significantly reduce emissions over the life cycle of the vessel. With a grid mix of 79.5% renewables, savings of 82.2% life cycle GHG emissions are possible compared with MGO. There are significant challenges facing inland vessels and the wider maritime industry when selecting pathways for a low carbon future. Particular attention must be given to well-to-tank (WTT) emissions when discussing the sustainability of any alternative marine fuel option to avoid burden shifting, or simply making the situation worse.
    Period23 Sept 2021
    Event titleACLCA 2021 Virtual Conference 2021
    Event typeConference
    Degree of RecognitionInternational