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Sustainable Marine Fuels

The maritime industry is the cornerstone of global trade, but it also faces a significant challenge: greenhouse gas emissions. At the Port of Seattle, we understand the importance and urgency of finding greener solutions for our ports and waterways. 

Not All Ships Run on the Same Fuel 

The energy needs of a fishing vessel or harbor tug are vastly different from a cruise ship or container ship traversing the Pacific. That's why a variety of fuels play a role in powering our maritime industry. 

  • Current Options: Traditional fuels like heavy fuel oil (HFO), marine gas oil (MGO) and diesel have been the workhorses of the industry, but their environmental impact is a significant concern. In 2019, an estimated 538 million gallons of maritime fuels were supplied in Washington. The combustion of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases, which are a global issue and responsible for the warming of our planet, and air pollution, which is a local issue and contributes to human health problems including asthma, heart and lung disease. These fuels are also very harmful to the marine environment if spilled. 
  • Future Focus: Innovation is paving the way for cleaner alternatives like electricity, green hydrogen, biofuels (derived from renewable sources), green methanol and green ammonia These hold immense promise for reducing emissions and creating a more sustainable maritime future.  

Industry Efforts Towards a Greener Horizon 

The Port of Seattle is working hand-in-hand with dozens of stakeholders to explore the feasibility of bringing clean marine fuels to the Pacific Northwest and to our maritime industry.  

  • Green Corridors: Projects like the Pacific Northwest to Alaska (PNW2AK) and PNW to Republic of Korea (ROK) green corridors are fostering collaboration to establish low and zero-carbon travel routes. Notably, PNW2AK would be the first green corridor for cruise in the world.  
  • Sustainable Maritime Fuel Collaborative: The Port and Maritime Blue are bringing together stakeholders across the industry to accelerate the development and adoption of clean fuels. The Port of Seattle and founding partners have secured $250,000 in State funding for fiscal year 2025 to support planning and organizational capacity building for the development of the Sustainable Maritime Fuels Collaborative. Work is underway on a study of fuel pathways in the Pacific Northwest along with stakeholder engagement that will be critical to help achieve the transition to a sustainable maritime future in Washington. 

Together, we can power a sustainable future for our oceans and planet.  

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