Using LNG to power ships can cut greenhouse gases by 21%

Findings released in study by SEA\LNG, thinkstep and The Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel
Using LNG to power ships can cut greenhouse gases by 21%

By Rebecca Gibson |

Using LNG rather than oil-based fuels to power ships reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 21%, according to a new study commissioned by SEA\LNG and The Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF).

Conducted by data and consultancy provider thinkstep, the Life Cycle GHG Emission Study explored the impact of using LNG instead of heavy fuel oil (HFO) on all emissions – from the wellhead to the ship's wake. It found that well-to-wake emissions from two-stroke slow-speed engines can be cut by 14-21% if fuelled by LNG instead of HFO, while emissions from four-stroke medium-speed engines can be cut by between 7% and 15%.

In addition, the report indicated that ships emit almost zero sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter when using LNG.

“The study…not only confirms what we already knew in terms of LNG’s immediate impact on air quality, human health and its cleanliness, but clearly highlights the genuine, substantiated GHG benefits of using today’s marine engines capable of burning natural gas,” said Peter Keller, chairman of SEA/LNG. “Moving from current HFO to LNG does reduce GHG emissions. LNG does contribute to the International Maritime Organisation’s 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.”

The report also showed that bioLNG and Synthetic LNG – both fully interchangeable with LNG derived from fossil feedstock – have the potential to cut GHG emissions even further. For example, a blend of 20% bioLNG as a drop-in fuel can decrease GHG emissions by an additional 13% when compared to 100% fossil-fuel LNG.

“LNG is safe to use, fully compliant and readily available as a marine transport fuel,” said Chad Verret, board chairman for SGMF. “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 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.”

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