Study finds LNG reduces shipping greenhouse gas emissions by up to 21%

LNG emissions fact sheet (click on image to enlarge) LNG emissions fact sheet (click on image to enlarge) GRAPHIC: Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel

An independent study report commissioned by SEA\LNG and the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel has revealed that greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions of up to 21% are achievable now from LNG as a marine fuel, compared with current oil-based marine fuels over the entire life cycle from well to wake.

Plus, SOx, NOx, PM emissions close to zero

The report, released at Seatrade Cruise Global, also confirms that emissions of other local pollutants, such as sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, are close to zero when using LNG compared with current conventional oil-based marine fuels.

The report was conducted by data and consultancy provider thinkstep according to ISO standards and is the result of an in-depth study into GHG emissions from current marine engines.

‘The Life Cycle GHG Emission Study confirms what we already knew in terms of LNG’s immediate impact on air quality, human health and its cleanliness, but also clearly highlights the genuine, substantiated GHG benefits of using today’s marine engines capable of burning natural gas,' SEA\LNG chairman Peter Keller said.

'Moving from current heavy fuel oil to LNG does reduce GHG emissions. LNG does contribute to the International Maritime Organization GHG reduction targets. And It is clear that LNG is the most environmentally friendly marine fuel that is readily available and safe, both today and in the foreseeable future.’

14% to 21% reductions for two-stroke engines

On an engine technology basis, the absolute well-to-wake emissions reduction benefits for LNG-fuelled engines compared with HFO fuelled ships today are between 14% to 21% for two-stroke slow speed engines and between 7% to 15% for four-stroke medium speed engines. Some 72% of the marine fuel consumed today is by two-stroke engines with a further 18% used by four-stroke medium speed engines.

Study partner Chad Verret, board chairman, Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel, added: ‘LNG is safe to use, fully compliant and readily available as a marine transport fuel. Standards, guidelines and operational protocols are all in place to ensure that the safe way is the only way when using gas as a marine fuel.

LNG bunker vessel fleet to double

'LNG meets and exceeds all current and 2020 marine fuel compliance requirements for content and emissions, local and GHG. With the world LNG bunker vessel fleet doubling in the next 18 months and those vessels being deployed at major bunkering hubs, LNG as a ship fuel is rapidly becoming readily available,' he added.

Ongoing optimisation in supply chain and engine technology developments will further enhance the benefits of LNG as a marine fuel. Additionally, bioLNG and synthetic LNG—both fully interchangeable with LNG derived from fossil feedstock—offer the potential for significant additional GHG emissions reductions. For example, a blend of 20% bioLNG as a drop-in fuel can reduce GHG emissions by a further 13% when compared to 100% fossil fuel LNG.

The full Well-to-Wake GHG Emissions Lifecycle Study can be accessed here.

Posted 15 April 2019

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Michelle Winny

Deputy Editor, Seatrade Cruise News/Seatrade Cruise Review