LNG is ‘the only viable fuel’ says industry group

In a hard hitting new report, SEA\LNG suggest that shipping’s current debate over decarbonisation is too often descending into a ‘my solution versus your solution’ argument, and  it says that ‘the art of the possible or practical appears to be forgotten, especially in the area of international maritime operations and regulation’.

SEA\LNG notes that the regulatory landscape is changing rapidly, and new technology developments are being announced on a regular basis.

‘Academics and industry commentators are making claims for different decarbonisation pathways, and new industry coalitions are springing up like mushrooms,’ it says, with the result that: ‘The understandable response of the shipping industry to this confusing situation is to pause and assess’.

The new report also addresses the issue of methane slip in relation to the use of LNG as a bunker fuel. In its recently published 4th GHG study, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) highlighted a 150% rise in methane emissions between the base year of 2012 and 2018 – a situation attributed to the increase in the number of LNG-fuelled vessels in operation.

SEA\LNG takes issue with the sole focus on historic data in the IMO’s report (although the study’s stated scope was the period between 2008-2018).

The industry coalition says: ‘Unfortunately, the recently released IMO 4th Study on GHG Emissions relies in part on 2018 and prior data, therefore it does not fully recognise the aggressive work that has been done in the area of slip.’

It then addresses the work that engine manufacturers are currently undertaking to address and mitigate the impact of methane slip.

‘Slip is often misleadingly characterised as an irremediable design flaw. This is NOT correct. Engine manufacturers recognise slip as an issue for certain types of internal combustion engines but not for all of them.’

The report continues: ‘It is important to note that LNG-fuelled engines were originally developed in the 1990s to address local emissions, i.e. NOx and SOx. GHG emissions were not an area of focus at the time.

‘Since then, levels of methane slip, where applicable, have been reduced by a factor of four and engine manufacturers continue to invest in R&D to further reduce the slip in response to both commercial and regulatory pressures.’

The full SEA\LNG report can be accessed here

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes