SEA-LNG, in collaboration with the European Biogas Association (EBA), the Natural & bio Gas Vehicle Association (NGVA Europe), and Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), released a paper titled “Fuelling clean mobility with bio-LNG.”
he objective of this paper is to highlight the environmental advantages of the use of bio-LNG in the heavy duty (HD) transport and the maritime sector and its importance as the most readily available solution for the sectors’ decarbonisation.
Additionally, it is crucial to underline the role bio-LNG will play in the future and the regulatory framework needed to support this sustainable fuel’s development.
According to the report, the use of LNG in the maritime sector can reduce GHG emissions by up to 23% compared with current oil-based marine fuels on a full life-cycle.
Methane slip in marine engines is attracting a lot of attention in relation in the debate about the GHG benefits of LNG as a marine fuel. Slip is often misleadingly characterised as an irremediable design flaw, which is not correct. LNG-fuelled engines were originally developed in the 1990s to address local emissions. GHG emissions were not an area of focus at the time. Since then, levels of methane slip, where applicable, have been reduced by a factor of four. By 2030 engine manufacturers forecast that all LNG-fuelled engine technologies will have minimal levels or no methane slip.
Compared with fossil LNG, bio-LNG – used initially as a drop in fuel – can have a major impact on GHG emissions. With a typically-sourced bio-LNG drop-in fuel, a blend of 20% bio-LNG can reduce GHG emissions by up to 18% on a tank-to-wake basis; for 100% bio-LNG the reduction is of the order of 93% in the combustion cycle 3, with even further reductions possible on a well-to-wake basis depending on the origin of the bio-LNG.
The air quality benefits resulting from the use of LNG as a marine fuel are well known and accepted. Vessels using fossil fuel LNG emit virtually no SOx while dramatically limiting emissions of NOx. LNG also virtually eliminates particulate matter, including black carbon or soot, which while not yet regulated, is a growing environmental concern.
Low risk strategy
Currently, the only commercial alternative to the LNG pathway, including bio-LNG and renewable synthetic LNG, is fuel-oil powered ships that will last at least 25 years. Whereas an LNG-powered ship, with its large cryogenic tank and dual fuel engine can adapt to a wide variety of solutions , this is much less the case for a fuel-oil powered ship.
Investing in LNG ships opens options for the future, whereas waiting ten more years for eventual new technologies will not only delay the transition, it will make the next 30 years harder for owners of oil-powered vessels threatened with obsolescence
LNG as a marine fuel for both LNG-fuelled vessels and LNG carriers amounts to some 3% of global marine fuel and demand is growing rapidly in line with new tonnage. This growing demand is supported by infrastructure developments. LNG bunkering is currently available in 56 European ports and under development and planned in 40 more. LNG bunker vessels are key to delivering the volumes and flexibility needed to the maritime sector. There are 21 LNG bunker vessels in operation in Europe with a further 17 planned or under discussion.
Bio-LNG is available commercially in north-west Europe, now. Suppliers are quoting prices for delivery of bio-LNG bunkers in Rotterdam, the biggest marine fuel bunkering hub in Europe, and in several North Sea and Baltic Sea ports.
Finally, the FuelEU Maritime Impact Assessment for the preferred policy option estimates that bio-LNG demand could represent about 1.2% of total marine fuel demand in 2030, growing to 16.8% by 20502 . This corresponds to 0.6 bcm (6 TWh) of biomethane demand, in the form of bio-LNG, in 2030 and 9.7 bcm (101 TWh) in 2050.