Research on bio-LNG for transport

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche
ShipInsight

27 March 2017


The Port of Rotterdam Authority has announced that, along with the Netherlands' National LNG Platform, it is undertaking a a joint study to examine opportunities for the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from renewable sources - so called bio LNG - as a transport fuel in the port. "LNG is considerably cleaner than other fuels, and engines that run on LNG also generate less noise. Relying on bio LNG rather than regular LNG allows users to drastically reduce CO2 emission levels," said the port authority. The joint study features three key elements, including an examination of the existing and expected availability of production technologies and processes through to 2030, a market analysis with scenarios to explore the availability of sustainable feedstock and the future development of demand, and business cases for the production, transport, and transshipment of bio LNG in the Rotterdam port area.
"Electric transport options are expected to form a major means to cut back CO2 emissions in passenger transport over the next few years. But for the moment, electric propulsion systems are not a viable alternative for inland shipping, maritime shipping and heavy road transport," said the port authority.
The Port of Rotterdam Authority suggests that, compared to diesel fuel and fuel oil, LNG is "a far cleaner option," with emissions as much as 15 percent lower in CO2, 85 percent lower in nitrogen oxides, and containing zero sulphur and particulates. "On top of this, bio LNG offers another advantage: the emitted CO2 is part of a so-called short cycle: CO2 emissions are actually neutralised by the associated CO2 uptake," said the port authority, adding that bio LNG could provide a sustainable fuel option that can be used as a stand-alone fuel or mixed with fossil-based LNG. The joint study is set to receive support from a total of eight companies, all members of the National LNG Platform, which will provide technical, legal, and financial support to the study through expertise and knowledge of the market. The study is slated to be completed by the second half of 2017, the results of which will inform a decision on whether or not Rotterdam will develop a bio LNG programme.