Alternative Propulsion and Future Fuels

Protecting the marine environment with alternative fuels and propulsion

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set ambitious decarbonization targets for the marine industry, including a minimum 50% reduction in GHG emissions from ships by 2050. To meet these targets for limiting emissions and environmental impact, many ship owners are turning to low carbon fuels and alternative propulsion.

Bureau Veritas is at the forefront of the energy transition, working with ship owners, shipyards, equipment providers and manufacturers to develop clean energy solutions for the marine industry. We support industry players in meeting safety, technical and regulatory challenges for low carbon fuels, zero carbon fuels, and alternative propulsion for both newbuilds and in-service vessels.


  • Achieve compliance with IMO regulations for minimizing the marine industry’s environmental footprint
  • Use low carbon fuels onboard to minimize CO2 emissions
  • Implement alternative propulsion technologies onboard to limit reliance of mechanical propulsion
  • Develop and explore zero carbon fuels to advance marine decarbonization and future-proof your fleet

Pivoting to low carbon marine fuels

Following the success of cleaner fuels like liquefied natural gas (LNG), industry stakeholders have begun incorporating other alternative fuels onboard. From biofuels to methanol and ethanol, Bureau Veritas is supporting ship operators and shipyards in preparing ships to safely use low carbon fuels onboard. In addition to our experience with biofuel-powered ships, Bureau Veritas is currently developing rules for methanol as fuel, to be published in 2021.

Exploring zero carbon marine fuels

To meet IMO targets for marine decarbonization, major industry players are aiming to develop and use ammonia and hydrogen – two zero carbon fuels when produced sustainably. Equipment manufacturers, shipyards, classification societies and other key players are working to address technical, safety and performance questions. They are also tackling operational challenges around the distribution, storage and bunkering of both ammonia and hydrogen. Bureau Veritas is collaborating with partners across the marine industry to develop rules for ammonia and hydrogen as fuel.

Future Marine Fuels Infographic : Pathways to decarbonization / IMO 2020


Developing wind-assisted propulsion

To sail using renewable energy, some ships are installing wind-assisted propulsion technologies onboard, including rotating sails, kite wings and rigid sails. Bureau Veritas’ rules for wind propulsion systems (WPS) and two notations (WPS-1 and WPS-2) for sail-assisted ships help clients address safety and reliability throughout vessel operations.


Alexander Von Humboldt
Biofuel-powered hopper dredger
Jan de Nul


  • Build, install and test an ammonia-powered combustion engine
    DELFT University of Technology
  • HAZID and HAZOP workshops for ammonia
    Working group with MAN Energy Solutions, Shell, Engie, etc.
  • Feasibility study for ammonia-powered bulk carrier
    Bureau Veritas HBSA