Monitoring Carbon Emissions of Ships: Policy implications of a weather-normalized indicator

Amandine Marie Clémence Godet

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis

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Maritime transportation is an essential pillar of modern societies, serving as the backbone of global trade. The shipping industry relies heavily on fossil fuels, significantly impacting the environment and contributing to climate change. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has introduced a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping and decarbonize the industry to combat this issue. This strategy aims to accomplish energy efficiency gains, transition to alternative fuels, and implement market-based measures.

Various energy efficiency indicators are in use to monitor the performance of ships, both from technical and operational perspectives. Building upon previous research that identified shortcomings in these indicators, this thesis investigates alternative methods of assessing the energy efficiency of ships. Emphasizing the importance of a benchmarking tool, the primary objective of this thesis is to contribute to the policy debate on reducing emissions in international shipping by developing a comprehensive carbon intensity indicator.

The thesis comprises four articles addressing various approaches to monitoring ship carbon emissions. The first article focuses on the influence of weather conditions on a ship’s energy efficiency, thereby contributing to the ongoing discussion on weather correction factors. Using model-based machine learning techniques, this article illustrates the diverse sea conditions encountered, their impact on energy efficiency, and the necessity of accounting for this diversity through multiple correction factors.

The second and third articles introduce and develop the concept of operational cycles for maritime transportation, drawing inspiration from the driving cycles employed in the automotive industry. The second article describes the process of generating operational cycles for the maritime sector as a novel concept. It validates this concept using real-world data obtained from a fleet of container ships. Building upon this foundation, the third article extends the concept by elaborating more comprehensive cycles that better represent real-world indicators.

The fourth article explores voluntary reporting frameworks in the shipping industry. It focuses on the Clean Cargo case and investigates the needs and interests of its members regarding this private initiative and related reporting framework. The discussion revolves around the role of these voluntary frameworks as complementary approaches to regulatory frameworks towards maritime decarbonization.

Based on the methodology developments and analysis through the thesis, the following key findings and recommendations are presented:

• The weather impact on ships’ fuel consumption prevents an accurate and real assessment of ships’ efficiency. Multiple weather correction factors for energy efficiency indicators introduce a novel approach.
• Inspired by the automotive industry, maritime operational cycles improve the assessment of technical and operational aspects of a ship’s energy efficiency. The cycles reduce the variability inherent to energy
efficiency indicators and are suitable as benchmarking tools.
• Although the IMO regulatory framework remains at the core of the maritime decarbonization strategy, regional regulatory frameworks and private initiatives have demonstrated their capacity to enhance industry
practices and facilitate regulatory developments.

This thesis contributes to enhancing carbon emissions monitoring in the maritime industry by introducing new methodologies and assessments. The resulting proposals are designed to enrich ongoing discussions within the IMO and complement the existing regulatory frameworks.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark
Number of pages251
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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