LR launches ‘Zero Ready Framework’ assessing readiness of vessels for operating on zero carbon fuels


Lloyd’s Register (LR) has launched a five-level framework for assessing the actual readiness of a vessel for the transition to zero carbon fuels. Published by LR’s Maritime Decarbonisation Hub, ‘Zero Ready Framework – helping to ensure shipping can deliver our zero-emissions future’, ranks vessel readiness for zero carbon fuel operations from 1 (highest level of readiness) to 5 (lowest level of readiness), and measured on a well-to-wake basis.

The framework has been created to offer clarity around the term ‘readiness’ which is used in multiple ways across the shipping industry. The rankings were developed based on observations that some shipowners have had a design for conversion to zero carbon fuel done as a paper exercise, without a plan for how the conversion would be carried out. Others have some or all the required equipment (for example: engine, tank, pipework, fuel management system) already installed. Another group of vessels have a dual fuel engine that could run on a zero-carbon fuel but may require an engine retrofit to do so.

An assessment of a container ship route in Southeast Asia by the LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub found that, despite pushing forward of new initiatives by financiers, insurers and ship charterers to achieve zero emissions, 27% to 30% of vessels newly built between 2022 and 2050 will still require conversion to a different fuel in order to meet zero targets.

Charles Haskell, Director, LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub, said: “As ships built today will still be in service in the 2040s, it’s essential for shipowners to understand the full implications of actual vessel ‘readiness’ for zero carbon fuels to meet the industry’s 2050 decarbonisation targets. These differing standards and classifications of ‘readiness’ across the industry have made it difficult for owners to conduct a transparent assessment of their vessels’ commercial prospects in a zero-emissions future.

“In view of the significant structural and technical complexities of vessel conversion, we developed the ‘Zero Ready Framework’ to help investors, charterers, insurers and prospective shipowners better understand and assess the risks and conversion costs of both existing and newly built fleets.”

“Until now, we have found that current regulations have focused on near-term improvements in vessel energy efficiency and GHG emissions but have yet to address the longer-term goal of vessel readiness for zero carbon fuels,” said Andrew Keevil, Strategy Development Manager for LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub and lead author of the framework.

“We designed the ‘Zero Ready Framework’ to accommodate the spectrum of vessel capabilities in both the fleet and the order book. We hope that the industry adopts these readiness levels, thus creating a common understanding of where ships are today on the journey to zero. By committing to a clearly defined readiness standard by a specified date, shipowners are better able to factor climate risks into their business plans and demonstrate climate action to both their customers and stakeholders.”

The framework has been developed through cross-industry consultation through a series of workshops with industry stakeholders, including Stephenson Harwood LLP, Greenheart Management, and Anglo Belgian Corporation.