LNG is the most mature, scalable, and commercially viable alternative fuel currently available for the maritime industry, according to a new study conducted by Norway-based alternative fuel experts from DNV GL.
The study concludes that while there are a variety of lower or zero carbon alternative fuels that could help to meet the goals of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets, many of these alternatives require significant development to meet the industry’s needs.
It also notes that many promising alternative fuels currently lack the regulatory framework, production capability and bunkering infrastructure for widespread adoption, and additionally are more expensive than traditional bunkers or LNG.
The study states that in a period where the industry is under considerable pressure to take steps to reduce GHG and other emissions to air, LNG is a solution that could help to move the industry forward, while laying the ground work for lower or carbon neutral fuels produced from renewable or zero-carbon energy.
Based on existing industry and academic literature, the study evaluated the commercial and operational viability of six of the main alternative fuels – hydrogen, ammonia, methanol, LPG, bio-fuel, in the form of hydro-treated vegetable oil, and full battery-electric systems.
It examined how they perform against LNG on a set of 11 key parameters, covering considerations such as applicability, scalability, economics and environmental performance.
“The shipping industry is under increasing pressure from the market, the public and from regulators to reduce its emissions to air – both in terms of local and greenhouse gas emissions,” says Torsten Schramm, president DNV GL – Maritime.
“This means that alternative fuels and propulsion technologies should be on the radar of every ship owner, especially those in the market for a new build in the near future.
“This new study should help to provide a clearer picture of the different fuels and their surrounding infrastructure, and includes an assessment of their capital and operating costs, local and GHG emissions, applicability to vessel type and route, availability, and technical maturity.
“What is already clear, however, is that LNG can play a valuable and positive role in improving the maritime industry’s emissions to air as we head toward 2030 and on to 2050.”
The full Alternative Marine Fuels Study can be accessed at: http://sea-lng.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/19-09-16_Alternative-Marine-Fuels-Study_final_report.pdf and the Alternative Marine Fuels narrative can be accessed at: http://sea-lng.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/SEALNG_Alternative_fuels_narrative_V20FINAL.pdf