Biofuels, hydrogen play a key role in shipping decarbonization up to 2050, BP says

by 24, Sep, 2020Innovation

The 2020 edition of the BP Energy Outlook explores possible paths for the global energy ‎transition, how global energy markets may evolve over the next 30 years and the key ‎uncertainties that may shape them.

Three scenarios 

  • Rapid assumes the introduction of policy measures, led by a significant increase in carbon ‎prices, that result in carbon emissions from energy use falling by around 70% by 2050 from ‎‎2018 levels. Rapid is broadly in line with scenarios that are consistent with limiting the rise in ‎global temperatures by 2100 to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.‎
  • Net Zero assumes the policy measures of Rapid are reinforced by significant shifts in societal ‎and consumer behaviour and preferences – such as greater adoption of circular and sharing ‎economies and switching to low carbon energy sources. This increases the reduction in ‎carbon emissions by 2050 to over 95%. Net Zero is broadly in line with a range of scenarios ‎consistent with limiting temperature rises to 1.5°C. ‎
  • Business-as-usual (BAU) assumes that government policies, technologies and societal ‎preferences continue to evolve in a manner and speed seen in the recent past. In BAU, carbon ‎emissions from energy use peak in the mid-2020s but do not decline significantly, with ‎emissions in 2050 less than 10% below 2018 levels.‎

Aviation and marine transport accounted for around 7 Mb/d and 5 Mb/d of oil consumption in ‎‎2018 respectively.

According to the report, demand for these services increases over the Outlook in both Rapid and BAU: ‎growth in shipping is driven by increased levels of trade; whilst expansion in air-travel is ‎underpinned by growing prosperity, especially in emerging economies.

In Net Zero, increasing preference for the consumption of locally-produced goods and reduction in ‎oil trade contributes to reduced shipping demand by around a third by 2050 relative ‎to BAU.‎

In Rapid, liquids demand from aviation remains relatively stable at around 7 Mb/d over the ‎course of the Outlook, as efficiency improves by around 35%, largely offsetting additional ‎demand for air travel. In Net Zero, these efficiency savings plus reduced appetite for flying in ‎some markets means liquids demand from aviation peaks in the early 2030s and declines to a ‎little below 2018 levels by 2050.  In contrast, liquids demand continues to grow throughout the ‎Outlook in BAU, reaching 10 Mb/d by 2050. ‎

Although biofuels play a critical role in decarbonizing the aviation sector, the fuel mix in the shipping sector is able to diversify into hydrogen (either as ‎ammonia or in liquid form) and LNG, as well as biofuels.

In Rapid and Net Zero, non-fossil fuels ‎account for 40% and 85% of marine transport fuel by 2050 respectively, with more than half of ‎that coming from hydrogen.

Conversely, under BAU, marine demand for oil increases slightly by ‎‎2050, with natural gas increasing its share of the sector fuel mix to just under 15% and non-fossil ‎fuels accounting for just 1%.‎

September 2020