What Type of VLCCs are Need for the Future of Shipping Industry to Meet IMO Goals?

What Type of VLCCs are need for the future of the Shipping Industry?

  1. VLCC CO2 emission reduction by 50% by 2050 (IMO Target) and Sulfur Limit in Fuel 0.1%.
  2. VLCC which meet requirements beyond the existing Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP).
  3. Fuel-Flexible design VLCC in order to extend the service lifetime and postpone the scrap time.

Why should the shipping industry consider these criteria as the choosing standards for VLCC?

“VLCC fleet structure with new fuel-flexible design limits not only expands the service lifetime of VLCC but also brings more reliability for it”

  • Uptake of alternative fuels is picking up, but needs to breakthrough to the large ocean going ships
  • In addition to LNG, carbon-neutral fuels will be needed towards 2050 Bridging technologies and fuel flexibility can smooth the transition from traditional fuels
  • Ships should be future proof in a changing environment, securing competitiveness and mitigating carbon risk 
  • Newbuild VLCCs could switch to LNG or Ammonia with batteries (electrifying with mitigating carbon risk)

Ammonia can be used as fuel in both combustion engines and fuel cells. Compared to hydrogen, ammonia has a higher energy density and is easier to store, thus enables operating on longer distances. Since ammonia is widely used in the fertilizer industry, it is globally accessible. Main challenges with ammonia are toxicity and corrosiveness. The only emissions from an ammonia-driven fuel cell is water and pure nitrogen. Thus, if ammonia is renewably produced, it can be considered as a carbon-neutral fuel. There are feasibility studies on building up an ammonia producing infrastructure at sea, using ocean wind.

The preference for ammonia is due to the lower cost of the converter, storage and the fuel itself compared with H2.


Since 1970, it has been managed to improve energy efficiency by 1.5 % every year, but during the same period, the transport sector has grown by an annual 2 – 3 %. So in spite of the progress that has been made, total fuel consumption has actually increased. This means that if we are to reach our goal of halving emissions by 2050, every single vessel in the fleet will have to reduce its emissions by almost 75 %.

In relation to IMO‘s target on 50% reduced CO2 emissions by 2050, DNV-GL has assessed three future scenarios, considering global fleet development (all ship types), uptake of technical measures, fuels, and policies like EEDI. Two of the pathways focus on ship design or operational requirements to achieve IMO’s goals, including regulations for individual ships to incentivize the necessary emission reduction. The third pathway describes a scenario in which no further policies are introduced.

For all three pathways, LNG has a dominant share of 40% – 80% in 2050. The primary energy source for LNG varies between fossil, biomass and other renewables. Ammonia, primarily applied in combustion engines, is considered the most promising long-term carbon-neutral fuel for new-builds. Carbon-neutral fuels must supply 30% – 40% of the total energy for international shipping. Figure 6-15 shows the results for the scenario focusing on design requirements.

As a matter of facts, DSME inks Letter of Intent (LoI) for 10 LNG-powered very large crude carriers (VLCCs) for an undisclosed European client, Business Korea reported citing the shipyard.

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