Symposium on IMO 2020 and Alternative Fuels

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(Image Courtesy: Reinhard Ottway)

IMO is hosting a Symposium on IMO 2020 and Alternative Fuels  on Thursday, 17 October and Friday, 18 October 2019 in the Main Hall at IMO Headquarters.

Aims of the symposium

​This one and half day symposium aims to raise awareness and to take stock of the preparations for the IMO 2020 rule, and to discuss the role of alternative fuels in the decarbonization of international shipping.

IMO 2020

​The 1 January 2020 entry into force of the new global sulphur limit of 0.5 per cent for ships’ fuel oil is fast approaching. (It was first adopted in 2008 and confirmed again in 2016). Sulphur 2020 brings in significant health benefits for people and for the oceans. The IMO 2020 rule will support the UN SDGS, in particular SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing); 14 (oceans). As an agency of the United Nations, IMO is firmly committed to helping its Member States achieve the SDGs, which set clear targets to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

Preparation is essential. IMO has been working hard, with Member States and the shipping and bunker supply industries, to support the implementation of this important, global, rule.

Decarbonization of international shipping

​IMO continues to contribute to the global fight against climate change, in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 13, to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. IMO has adopted mandatory measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping, under IMO’s pollution prevention treaty (MARPOL) – the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI)  mandatory for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP).

In 2018, IMO adopted an initial IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, setting out a vision which confirms IMO’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and to phasing them out as soon as possible.

The targets set out in the strategy will not be met using fossil fuels only. A  zero-carbon future requires a great deal of research and development. So, as well as the regulatory imperative, there is a need to make zero-carbon ships more attractive and to direct investments towards innovative sustainable technologies and alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels. 

Battery powered and hybrid ferries, ships trialling biofuels or hydrogen fuel cells, wind-assisted propulsion and several other ideas are now being actively explored. The IMO GHG strategy has sent a clear signal to innovators that this is the way forward. Read more about the initial IMO GHG Strategy.

Sea News, September 12