Greenhouse gas emissions will not be solved by LNG: researcher


RESEARCH Associate at the Tyndall Centre, University of Manchester Michael Traut, has said that while switching to liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkers may solve the shorter term problem of reducing certain ship emissions such as SOx, but will not address the wider challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

This will surprise many in the industry as considerable backing, including a significant amount of state funding in Europe, has already been put into developing LNG as an alternative to traditional bunker, reports Vancouver's Ship & Bunker.

At last month's LNG Fuels Summit in Amsterdam, general manager of Titan LNG, Michael Shaap, declared that "I think everybody concurs by now that LNG is the future marine fuel."

NOx emissions are typically reduced by some 90 per cent, meaning owners that make the switch to LNG would also be safeguarding against the proposed future NOx caps. Regulations addressing ship emissions to date have been predominantly focused on reducing SOx.

Following MARPOL Annex VI's coming into force in 2005, emissions control areas (ECAs) in Europe and North America have been created limiting the sulphur content of bunkers to 0.10 per cent. Later this year the IMO will decide on whether the current 3.5 per cent global sulphur cap will drop to 0.5 per cent in 2020 or 2025.

LNG is touted as the perfect solution for marine to solve the challenge of meeting these increasingly tighter emissions limits - and in the context of MARPOL Annex VI it is easy to see why.

LNG not only produces negligible emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), meaning they will meet all current and any future sulphur caps, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are typically reduced by 90 per cent, meaning owners that make the switch to LNG would also be safeguarding against the proposed future NOx caps.

When it comes to GHGs, shipping currently has no explicit commitment to reduce them, and it was not referenced in the recent COP21 global climate deal.

Nevertheless, Dr Traut explains that the IMO is now under increasing pressure to make sure shipping does its part to reduce GHGs in line with the goals of COP21.

"While LNG reduces some greenhouse gas emissions, the CO2 emissions reduction is actually pretty small to non-existent when you look at the complete lifecycle," he said.

And while some shipowners such as Japan's NYK Line say they are specifically looking at LNG "in order to meet the tightened regulations on CO2 emissions from vessels," this is one area where the advantage of LNG over traditional bunkers is much less.

Source: Schednet

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