The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) started a new project, FUgitive Methane Emissions from Ships (FUMES), in collaboration with Danish-based Explicit ApS and the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO).
Using in-stack continuous emissions monitoring, drones, and helicopters, the project will examine and quantify methane emissions from ships fueled by LNG under a variety of real-world operating conditions at a scale never before achieved.
Use of LNG as a marine fuel globally grew nearly 30% between 2012 and 2018 and LNG is becoming popular as a fuel for new cargo ships and cruise ships. This is despite concerns about methane emissions which may dilute the potential GHG reduction benefits of using LNG compared to conventional fuels.
The current literature on methane emissions from ships consists of only a small number of studies based on limited measurements taken on board or in a laboratory.
Obtaining these real-world data will help us to better understand the conditions under which methane emissions from LNG-fueled ships are high or low, and that’s important when considering ways to reduce the environmental impacts of shipping
said Bryan Comer, Ph.D., marine program lead at the ICCT.
FUMES will assess emissions from ship engines and fugitive emissions from fuel tanks and cargo tanks. Methane “slip” from engines is related to the engine technology and the project will focus on emissions from low-pressure dual-fuel (LPDF) engines and high-pressure dual-fuel (HPDF) engines.
Improvements in engine design over recent years might not be fully captured in older studies, and so that’s another gap in the literature this project will help address
noted Robin Vermeulen, engine and emissions measurement specialist at TNO.
FUMES results are expected to include estimated methane (CH4) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emission factors by engine type for the ships measured.
Measurements will be taken in 2022 and the team will publish a peer-reviewed, publicly available white paper in 2023. The project will also deploy both drones and helicopters to sample exhaust plumes from many more ships to provide broader insights into the factors that affect methane emissions.
According to Bettina Knudsen, COO/CMO of Explicit ApS, the team will use new drone-based technologies to quantify total fugitive methane emissions from ships.
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