How FSG is helping ports to refuel for a greener future

Shipbuilder will construct three LNG bunkering ships to increase availability of alternative fuels  

How FSG is helping ports to refuel for a greener future
Grants for three planned LNG bunker vessels were handed over at FSG’s yard in Flensburger, Germany

By Alex Smith |

With the need to address the environmental impact of passenger shipping becoming more pressing as the threat of climate change increases, many passenger ship operators are exploring how they can use alternative fuels. LNG currently presents the most viable alternative to diesel fuels, producing less emissions while remaining cost-effective. As a result, the upcoming cruise and ferry order books have gradually been filled with new LNG-powered vessels, increasing the demand for wider availability of alternative fuels.  

In order to keep up with demand for new fuels and accelerate the journey towards greener shipping, it is crucial that other stakeholders in the global maritime industry invest to provide the necessary infrastructure.  Among the stakeholders aiming to help achieve this transition is Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG), which has made developing these innovations a central objective in future research and development plans.  

“As a shipyard, we have ambitious goals to become a major pillar of the energy transition,” says Philipp Maracke, FSG’s managing director. “FSG has already positioned itself as an innovation leader for low-emission ship designs in the past. Building on our references and expertise, we want to be a driver when it comes to the energy transition in shipping.” 

With this aim, FSG is taking part in a project to construct three LNG bunker vessels in collaboration with ship management company Nordic Hamburg and consulting firm WesMar. Nordic has received funding of around €62 million ($66 million) for the three vessels from the German government, with grant approvals handed over at the FSG shipyard in Flensburg, Germany. 

“The maritime sector’s energy transition and its associated switch to alternative fuels are a huge task,” says Robert Habeck, federal minister for economic affairs and climate action, who handed over the approvals at the shipyard. “It requires investments in the expansion of bunker infrastructure which will enable the refuelling of maritime vessels with LNG and renewable fuels. I am delighted that, thanks to the efforts of all those involved in the project, we have succeeded in realising the funding of three new innovative bunker vessels this year.” 

Each bunker vessel will have a capacity of 4,500 cubic metres and will be deployed to supply LNG fuel to LNG dual-fuel vessels, such as the new generation of cruise ships sailing to ports in Germany and Europe. The bunker vessels can also be upgraded to supply green ammonia and methanol in the future. Both fuels offer significant potential as cleaner-burning alternatives to heavy fuel oil, allowing shipowners to reduce their environmental impact and comply with tightening emissions limits. However, the industry needs to make technological and regulatory advancements for them to become viable marine fuels.  

FSG is also committing to the investigation of the viability of alternative fuels as part of a project with Oceanex on the design of new vessels for the Canadian shipping company. The partners intend to test the utilisation of fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia, methanol, synthetic fuels and biofuels, as well as technologies based on them. If successful, the resulting advances would be significant for the construction of ships across the industry, including passenger vessels. 

The innovations and advances made in projects such as the design and construction of the bunker vessels and the Oceanex partnership are a crucial component in the path towards ensuring that cruise and ferry vessels powered by alternative fuels become more widely spread throughout the industry. With its role in this and similar projects, FSG is helping pave the way to greener, more sustainable shipping. 

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.   

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