Leading marine industry players have formed a new multi-sector industry coalition, known as SEA\LNG, to accelerate the widespread adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel. The main areas of focus for the coalition include supporting the development of LNG bunkering in major ports, educating stakeholders as to the risks and opportunities in the use of LNG fuel, and developing globally consistent regulations for cleaner shipping fuels.
As such, the coalition will address the barriers hindering the global development of LNG in marine applications, thereby improving the environmental performance of the shipping industry.
Partners in the SEA\LNG coalition include Wärtsilä, Carnival Corporation, DNV-GL, ENGIE, ENN Group, GE Marine, GTT, Lloyds Register, Mitsubishi, NYK Line, Port of Rotterdam, Qatargas, Shell Downstream and Tote. Each member organization commits mutually agreed human resources, data analysis, and knowledge sharing in support of the SEA/LNG initiatives and activities.
Peter Keller, chairman of SEA\LNG and executive vice president of TOTE Inc., explains the rationale behind the new initiative: “We recognise the need to work closely with key players across the value chain, including shipping companies, classification societies, ports, major LNG suppliers, downstream companies, infrastructure providers and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to ensure an understanding of the environmental and performance benefits of LNG as a marine transport fuel. SEA\LNG aims to address market barriers and help transform the use of LNG as a marine fuel into a global reality”.
Leo Karistios, Lloyd’s Register (LR)’s Gas Technology Manager, said: “LNG fuelled shipping has mainly been for the visionaries and, until now, concentrated in specialist ship sectors – short sea shipping and ferries, mainly sailing between two fixed ports. We want to help drive the expansion of LNG as a marine fuel of choice, with not just more short sea and local ships burning gas, but also the deep sea trades”.
Over 90% of global trade moves by sea and this trade is expected to increase substantially over the coming years. In terms of tonne miles, shipping is the world’s cleanest form of transport. However, the volumes moved are so large that shipping is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas (~3% of the total global), sulphur oxides (SOx, ~10% of the total) and nitrogen oxides (NOx, ~15%) emissions.
The emissions reduction requirements which have come into force around the world to respond to this challenge are increasing demand for LNG as a shipping fuel. LNG offers significant environmental advantages for shipping compared to heavy fuel oil (HFO), which remains the predominant fuel used today. By comparison with HFO, NOx emissions are cut by approximately 85%, SOx emissions are almost completely eliminated since natural gas contains no sulphur, and particle production is practically non-existent, thanks to the efficient combustion of natural gas, a fuel with almost no residuals. LNG is therefore able to offer a fuel solution compliant with both current and anticipated future regulations.
LR says that although LNG is a competitive fuel relative to current alternatives, LNG infrastructure is needed in ports around the world to enable quick, safe and cost effective bunkering. In parallel, there remains a price premium for LNG-fuelled vessels which can make investment decisions challenging. Furthermore, regulation is not yet globally consistent, which constrains incentives for investment in the sector. SEA\LNG aims to address and help overcome these and other challenges.
“This is a strong coalition combining the expertise of major fleet owners, classification societies, port facilities, and energy experts,” says Timo Koponen, Vice President, Flow & Gas Solutions, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions. “By working together, we plan to overcome the challenges and speed the general acceptance of LNG.”
(Sources: Coalition partners)