LNG is a viable path to 2050 targets

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche
ShipInsight

01 March 2019


SEA\LNG, the multi-sector industry coalition aiming to accelerate the widespread adoption LNG as a marine fuel, believes LNG is a viable pathway to meet the IMO’s 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) targets.

The maritime industry really has two broad but major environmental initiatives related to air emissions; dramatic improvement of global air quality, and reduction of GHGs. Reinforcing the case for LNG as a marine fuel, SEA\LNG Chairman Peter Keller said, “In addition to immediate local air quality benefits, LNG offers a commercially viable long-term bridging solution to addressing the IMO GHG targets. LNG, in combination with efficiency measures being developed for new ships in response to the IMO’s EEDI, will provide a way of meeting the IMO’s target of a 40% decrease in GHG by 2030 for international shipping. In addition, there are clear technology pathways being developed which should allow further emissions savings to be realised. For example, today, mixing LNG with bioLNG (from biogas) as a ‘drop-in’ fuel significantly reduces GHG emissions. Longer term, ‘power-to-gas’ is a key technology with the potential to produce large volumes of renewable LNG.”

LNG far outperforms conventional marine fuels in terms of minimising local emissions to improve air quality and can significantly reduce GHG emissions. LNG emits zero SOx and virtually zero PM and compared to existing heavy marine fuel oils, LNG emits 90% less NOx. Academic literature shows that realistic reductions of GHG by 10-20% are achievable, with a potential for 25% or more as technology develops over the coming years, compared with conventional oil-based fuels.

SEA\LNG together with SGMF has commissioned an independent study to establish the facts regarding GHG emissions from LNG as a marine fuel considering all emissions from well-to-wake for LNG and other fuels. This study is currently being reviewed by independent academics and SEA\LNG and SGMF expect to publish the results in April.

Future technologies that appear to have promise, safety, and scalability could be built upon marine fuel infrastructure for LNG and clearly indicate that it is inaccurate to conclude that LNG will not provide a pathway to meeting IMO 2050 GHG ambitions. LNG can and does solve the air quality issues the maritime industry has been working on for decades and sets a path forward to meet IMO GHG targets.