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NZCS chat recap: ‘Not everything can be electrified’

Alternative fuels for freight transportation have advantages and disadvantages

This fireside chat recap is from FreightWaves’ Net-Zero Carbon Summit on Thursday.

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Alternative fuels for transportation

DETAILS: Logistics is about trade-offs and overcoming these trade-offs. There are many emerging alternative fuels for freight transportation and all of them have advantages and disadvantages. 

SPEAKERS: Matt Waller and Milton Bevington

BIOS: Waller is the dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. His opinion pieces have appeared in The Wall Street Journal Asia and Financial Times and he has co-written multiple books on supply chain management. He also is a FreightWaves adviser.

Bevington is touted as “a voice for business in the energy transition” and currently is researching substituting carbon-free fuels in global shipping as a principal with Carbon Neutral Consulting. He co-founded Servidyne, a 16-time EPA Energy Star Partner-of-the-Year Award winner, and for six years was a climate initiative program director for the William J. Clinton Foundation. 


“If you can electrify things, you do it … but not everything can be electrified. There are instances where some of these mobile fuels are not well suited and one of them is in deepwater shipping. One thing you need is enormous amounts of energy. Enormous amounts of energy require enormous amounts of space and one thing vessels don’t have is space.”

“It’s not a simple matter of looking at the price of methanol today. … The issues here have to do with regulations. You can’t take ships that emit so much sulfur into certain parts of the world. You can’t get into certain ports with it … [Also] there is hardly any methanol in the world. There was an article just this week about the first Maersk methanol fueled tanker [and they] are not certain they can secure enough methanol, given the supply in the world, to fuel it all the time.”

“Hydrogen and ammonia fuels are ramping up very quickly and going to a commercial scale. I don’t think there is going to be a winner there. I think there will be winners. … They may become the fuel of choice even for electric needs.”

Grace Sharkey

Grace is an entrepreneur and former supply chain executive who has held positions in sales, operations, and consulting. She is passionate about the future of the industry and how technology can improve the experience for all supply chain members. She believes supply chain is the one industry that affects every human directly, and is looking forward to creating content that mirrors that sentiment. If you have a story to share, please contact me at