Marine future fuels

What are future fuels?

Sustainability is taking the wheel for the shipping industry, as the European Union (EU) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) develop new climate targets and regulations. The EU’s Fit for 55 legislative package calls for a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) across sectors by 20301. In tandem, the IMO initial strategy on GHG emissions is aiming to reduce the total GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050[1]. IMO short-term measures to achieve this, such as the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) and Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII), entered into force in November 2022.

To meet these targets, the marine industry will need access to low-carbon, carbon-neutral and zero-carbon fuels. Current solutions include powering ships with liquefied natural gas (LNG) using dual fuel engines, or a combination of alternative fuels and hybrid-electric systems. Yet these options are increasingly making way for the next generation of alternative fuels, based on lower carbon pathways: biofuels, methanol, green or e-hydrogen and ammonia. When produced by a green supply chain, each of these future fuels can be considered low-carbon, carbon neutral or zero-carbon from production to use or from a “well-to-wake” perspective.

Julien Boulland Global Market Leader, Sustainable Shipping Bureau Veritas M&O

Sustainable Shipping Market Leader

Bureau Veritas M&O

Until zero-carbon fuels are readily available worldwide, specificity will be the name of the game for shipowners. A slate of unique factors, including vessel type, onboard equipment, regional requirements, fuel infrastructure and pricing, will define the right alternative fuel for each ship.
No two vessels will follow the same sustainability journey – and that is where Bureau Veritas comes in. We take a tailored approach to every ship, helping our clients meet short-, mid- and long-term sustainability goals at the pace they set.

Bureau Veritas’ services for future fuels

Expertise to support future fuel development

Bureau Veritas helps ship owners and managers, shipyards, technology providers, equipment manufacturers and materials suppliers develop, de-risk and regulate a wide variety of alternative fuels. As pioneers in safety and performance, we offer technical and regulatory expertise across the energy supply chain for ammonia, hydrogen, methanol, biofuels and e-fuels.

Rules and notations for alternative fuels

Bureau Veritas provides Rules, Rule Notes and notations for numerous alternative fuels, ensuring ships meet safety, technical, environmental and regulatory requirements. We offer Rules for methanol- and ethanol- fueled ships (NR 670), tentative Rules for ammonia-fueled ships (NR 671) and we are working on Rules for hydrogen as fuel. For ships using or preparing to use alternative fuels, we offer notations such as AMMONIAFUEL-PREPARED, METHANOLFUEL-PREPARED and BIOFUEL READY. In addition, our VeriFuel program enables Bureau Veritas to provide fuel quality assessment for biofuels and e-fuels worldwide.

Collaborating to de-risk pioneering projects

Bureau Veritas advances development of new fuel technologies via Approvals in Principle (AiPs). These third-party assessments enable clients to make progress on the feasibility of a new project or technology. Recent examples include an AiP for an ammonia carrier powered by ammonia fuel; and an AiP for a liquefied gas handling system that can be used to transport both LNG and ammonia. Bureau Veritas also plays an active role in Joint Industrial Projects, with recent contributions to projects relating to use of hydrogen and bunkering of green marine fuels.

Find out more about future marine fuels

As a leader in alternative fuels and new technologies, Bureau Veritas invites you to join us in exploring the future fuels driving marine decarbonization.


Ammonia is a commonly traded, zero-carbon fuel when produced renewably – but questions of risk and regulation remain. Bureau Veritas offers tentative Rules for ammonia as fuel, and ships conversions can take advantage of our AMMONIAFUEL-PREPARED notation.

Learn more here

Green methanol

With safe handling and design modifications, green methanol has the potential to greatly reduce pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. Bureau Veritas offers Rules covering methanol and ethanol-fueled ships.

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Renewable hydrogen is a zero-carbon fuel that can be used to power ships directly or support the development of e-fuels. Bureau Veritas, a member of the Hydrogen Council, is involved in several JIPs relating to hydrogen use and carriage.

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Synthetized from renewable hydrogen, e-fuels have the potential to decarbonize all vessels, once production is scaled up. Bureau Veritas’ work across energy production chains enables our experts to assess e-fuel sustainability. 

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Biofuels are a promising source of carbon-neutral fuel, provided end-to-end supply chain sustainability can be ensured. Our BIOFUEL READY notation provides a set of requirements and guidelines covering testing and documentation preparing for the use of biofuels.

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