Germany’s Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is now promoting the upgrading and conversion of seagoing vessels to liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel. The aim of the new funding program is to promote the use of LNG in German maritime shipping. The funds are made available from the mobility and fuel strategy (MKS).
Germany is home to the Port of Hamburg and Bremerhaven, two of Europe’s largest shipping ports. The German government wants to maintain this top position and therefore supports the introduction of innovative technologies. With the new funding program, it are accelerating the expansion of alternative drives in maritime shipping and contributing to its goal of more mobility with fewer emissions.
LNG as a marine fuel contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions. Unlike conventional oil-based marine fuels, LNG does not cause any sulfur oxide emissions (SOx). Nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) are reduced by up to 90 percent and particulate emissions by approx. 98 percent compared to conventional fuels.
In addition to the expansion of the LNG tank infrastructure and the upgrading and conversion of ships, the BMVI is also modernizing the federal fleet with alternative engines. The includes the German research vessel Atair II, under construction at the Fassmer shipyard for Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH).
The Association of German Shipowners (VDR) has welcomed the Federal Government’s published funding program for seagoing vessels operated with liquefied natural gas (LNG). To this end, Ralf Nagel, Managing Director of the VDR, said: “The funding program will help German shipowners better pay the considerable additional costs for gas-fueled ships and is a real benefit for the environment. With LNG, we can significantly reduce emissions and improve air quality on the coasts and ports. ”
The retrofitting or construction of ships that can be operated with LNG is complex and expensive. Compared to conventional fuels, additional costs of 20 to 30 per cent are incurred for marine engines, tanks and supply lines.
The subsidy guideline is now published in the German Federal Gazette. It states: “The promotion is intended to provide targeted incentives for the diversification of the fuel base and the use of natural gas as a ship’s fuel, especially in the area of German ports and European waters, in order to achieve considerable advantages for climate, environmental and health protection.”
A first call for project proposals is being prepared. Companies that own a vessel or are planning a new vessel, as well as public bodies and institutions governed by public law, are eligible to apply. Applications need to be submitted before the conclusion of a delivery or service contract. Preliminary work already done must be demonstrated but is not eligible for funding.
Related article: Germany’s BSH Fleet Opts for LNG Dual-Fuel Propulsion