LNG presents transition pathway to shipping's decarbonization goals: sources
27th April 2021 08:55 GMT

LNG as a marine fuel, while having been subject to some controversy due to a recently released World Bank report, still offers an effective transition pathway to navigate shipping through its decarbonization journey as other low-carbon fuel solutions are still at a fairly nascent stage of development and pose some hurdles, sources said at the IMO-Singapore Future of Shipping Conference.

A recent World Bank report -- The Role of LNG in the Transition Toward Low- and Zero-Carbon Shipping -- stated that the Initial IMO GHG Strategy and the IMO’s climate targets are not consistent with the large-scale use of LNG as a bunker fuel in the long term.

While sources agreed that the future would herald multiple zero-carbon fuel solutions, LNG's potential could not be currently ignored and that inaction on this front was simply not an option.

"Mastering fuel complexity will be a key factor for success [to tread along the decarbonization pathway]," Brian Ostergaard Sorensen, vice president, head of research & development, two-stroke at MAN Energy Solutions, said at the virtual industry event on April 23, held as part of the Singapore Maritime Week 2021.

The optimal fuel choice will depend on a variety of factors including what is the vessel type, where is the vessel trading, what is the trading scheme, be it network trading or tramp trading, Sorensen said, adding that ultimately a variety of fuels will need to be there.

However, LNG is already an established technology in the market and is a "good solution" currently, in it being a bridging technology, he said.

He also noted that dual fuel technology's uptake, which was initially gradual, was now gaining increased momentum, with COVID-19 actually accelerating the transition to alternative fuels.

"We actually see now that around 35% of the engines ordered with MAN today are dual fuel (in 2021), with LNG being a major part of it," he said.

Some of the future fuels -- methanol, ammonia, and hydrogen -- still pose some challenges regarding their production, availability and scalability as well as usage onboard, he added.

Meanwhile, Nick Ryan, vice president, operated fleet at BP Shipping agreed that LNG was an effective transition fuel.

It is already gaining much momentum from customers now committing to dual fuel ships, he said. "We use it [LNG] in our LNG carriers and its very successful and is becoming ever more efficient."

Moreover, organizations with LNG capabilities such as BP have an opportunity to use their expertise to build supply and logistics capabilities in selected locations around the globe, he added. In the longer term, hydrogen, ammonia and other fuels could be considered as future low carbon fuel solutions, Ryan said.

A significant amount of work, however, is required to develop the right infrastructure and supply capability to ensure that such fuels are safe, efficient and economically viable, he added.

Vivian Rambarath Parasram, director and head, Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre Caribbean noted that "within the Caribbean, we have some LNG providers and there are some LNG bunkering capacity currently... So I think as a transition fuel, like the rest of the world, Caribbean can be looking at LNG as a transition fuel."

Ammonia and methanol are possibilities as well for the region. However, ensuring that ships are capable of up-taking these types of fuels is something that may be outside of the capability of the region currently, she added.

Act now rather than wait

"We welcome creative challenge and creative discomfort," Rajalingam Subramaniam, president and CEO of Singapore-headquartered shipping company AET, said while referring to the World Bank report at a separate event, also organized during the Singapore Maritime Week 2021.

LNG's viability is proven on a well-to-wake basis, with LNG capable of reducing GHG emissions by about 23% compared to standard conventional fuels, he said, citing industry studies.

Subramaniam acknowledged that achieving decarbonization entailed a number of solutions but the company was committed to LNG as it was imperative to act now rather than wait.

Meanwhile, SEA-LNG, a multi-sector industry coalition to promote LNG as a marine fuel, said on April 20 that “waiting for future fuels and not fully utilizing LNG, which is safe, proven, competitive and available today, is a mistake.”

The World Bank’s recent report attempts to prescribe solutions and predict the timing of future technology development, it said, adding that SEA-LNG believes strongly that the transition to future fuels must not follow this prescriptive approach.

“To suggest that investments not be made in the LNG sector is unwise, and will prolong the use of higher emissions fuels and slow down shipping’s decarbonization,” it added.

Bunkerworld .,
27th April 2021 08:55 GMT