Optimal Ship Fuel Selection under Life Cycle Uncertainty

J.J. Zwaginga*, Benjamin Lagemann, Stein Ove Erikstad, J.F.J. Pruyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Shipowners need to prepare for low-emission fuel alternatives to meet the IMO 2050 goals. This is a complex problem due to conflicting objectives and a high degree of uncertainty. To help navigate this problem, this paper investigates how methods that take uncertainty into account, like robust optimization and stochastic optimization, could be used to address uncertainty while taking into account multiple objectives. Robust optimization incorporates uncertainty using a scalable measure of conservativeness, while stochastic programming adds an expected value to the objective function that represents uncertain scenarios. The methods are compared by applying them to the same dataset for a Supramax bulk carrier and taking fuel prices and market-based measures as uncertain factors. It is found that both offer important insights into the impact of uncertainty, which is an improvement when compared to deterministic optimization, that does not take uncertainty into account. From a practical standpoint, both methods show that methanol and LNG ships allow a cheap but large reduction in emissions through the use of biofuels. More importantly, even though there are limitations due to the parameter range assumptions, ignoring uncertainty with respect to future fuels is worse as a starting point for discussions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1947
Number of pages18
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • ship design
  • alternative fuel
  • energy system selection
  • uncertainty
  • optimization
  • robust
  • stochastic


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