IMO adopts 2024 LCA guidelines at MEPC 81

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) adopted life cycle assessment (LCA) guidelines of marine fuels at the 81st meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).

Delegates at MEPC 81 approved base LCA guidelines to cover all fuels and other energy carriers to be used on board vessels. The LCA guidelines cover carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions only, omitting particulate matter (PM), carbon monoxide (CO), and sulphur oxide (Sox) emissions from the scope of the adopted guidelines. The LCA guidelines will cover emissions from the points of feedstock extraction or cultivation, processing the respective feedstock, transport of the feedstock and its conversion into fuel, the transport or storage of the fuel, and the combustion of the fuel. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will be calculated on a CO2 equivalent basis in the adopted guidelines.

But the MEPC noted that there was not “sufficient support” within the working group for the proposed drafts by the delegates of India and South Korea that would provide guidance for the use of marine biofuels as a bunker fuel as well as the carriage of biofuels and biofuel blends by bunker vessels. The committee instead invited “interested member states and international organisations” to submit relevant proposals with regards to the safe use of biofuels and biofuel blends to a future session.

The committee also added that it will establish a correspondence group with a view to submit a report in a future 83rd MEPC meeting regarding a work plan for a regulatory framework on the use of carbon capture onboard vessels as well as the measurement and verification of CH4 and NO2 emissions.

The MEPC agreed to the use of an “IMO net-zero framework” and invited delegates of interested member states and international organisations to prepare a consolidated proposal for the “basket of mid-term measures” which will comprise both technical elements — fuel standards to minimise GHG emissions — as well as economic elements such as an economic pricing mechanism to be considered at the next session, using a draft outline of the IMO net-zero framework. The IMO secretary general previously said that up to 20 possible combinations of the technical and economic elements will be considered for these measures.

Tags: CO2, IMO, LCA, MEPC 81
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