Yokohama could be Japan’s first port of call for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering, subject to the outcome of a feasibility study launched by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and Tourism (MLIT). Taking part in the study is Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line), the largest marine transporter in Japan.
This study is examining the technological and infrastructural requirements for establishment of an LNG bunkering hub at the port of Yokohama to supply LNG as fuel to ships. A kick-off meeting of the study’s steering committee was held on June 9 for the creation of a facility development plan by the end of the year.
In accordance with the NYK Group’s medium-term management plan, “More Than Shipping 2018,” NYK has started the process of using LNG to fuel some ships. In August 2015, the company received delivery of Japan’s first LNG-fueled tugboat named “Sakigake”. Moreover, NYK has already begun construction of world-first LNG-fueled car carrier and LNG bunkering vessel, and has teamed with ENGIE and the Mitsubishi Corporation to develop the LNG bunkering business. NYK looks forward to applying the company’s knowledge and know-how to this study for the development of LNG fuel for ships.
Emission controls for ships
The requirements applicable to ships for controlling sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are getting stricter every year. In particular, regulations aimed at reducing SOx emissions by vessels are becoming ever more stringent. Thus, applicable emission limits were reduced from the current 1.0% to 0.1% in 2015 in certain emission control areas, or ECAs (the North Sea, the Baltic Sea area, and areas around North America). Outside the ECAs, emission limits will be reduced from the current limit of 3.5% to 0.5% in 2020 or 2025.
Use of LNG fuel to reduce environmentally hazardous substances
Use of LNG almost completely eliminates SOx and particulate matter (PM) emissions, and the operation of LNG-fueled vessels can result in a reduction of nearly all SOx and PM emissions compared to emissions by vessels powered with conventional heavy fuel oil. Use of LNG can also reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 30% and can reduce NOx emissions by up to 80%. The widespread adoption of LNG is thus considered to be an influential measure by ships to control greenhouse gas emissions.