Renewable energy options for shipping

The shipping industry plays a critical role in the global economy, carrying approximately 90% of the total tonnage of world’s traded goods. Shipping propulsion has changed radically since the mid-19th century, from the renewable energy of sail power, to the coal power of steamships, to the predominance of heavy fuel oil and marine diesel oil. But renewable energy technologies could transform the global shipping fleet again, at all levels and scales. This IRENA technology brief summarises the current status and applications of renewable energy solutions for shipping, along with barriers and opportunities for further deployment. The brief provides recommendations to policy makers on promoting realistic renewable energy solutions, which can support energy efficiency and reduced emissions in the sector.