LNG Bunkering: Where we stand

09 Jun LNG Bunkering: Where we stand

Following a greener path, the shipping industry is constantly searching for alternative fuels that will be in line with the environmental regulations, with LNG currently seeing a high demand.

The IMO sulphur cap which came into force on January 1st, 2020, requires that all vessels limit the sulphur in fuel oil used on board when operating outside designated emission control areas to 0.50% m/m (mass by mass), which leads the industry to look for alternative fuels.

Referring to the industry’s goal for decarbonization, C. J. McKinlay, S. R. Turnock, D. A. Hudson, University of Southampton, UK, issued a study which highlights that

“Due to environmental pressures, the shipping industry will likely be required to significantly reduce oil and gas usage in the near future.”

Worldwide there is a continuing growth in the application of natural gas for electrical power generation etc., for both industrial and domestic consumption, and increasingly now as a substitute for liquid hydrocarbon fuels in marine propulsion.

For ocean going ships where operational endurance, and range, requires large capacity bunker fuel tanks the adoption of LNG as fuel has established a need for new types of dedicated LNG bunkering vessels (LBV) and LNG bunkering barges (LBB) with specialist systems for handling the ship to ship bunkering of LNG.

Now, as the demand of LNG is increasing, advances in LNG port design is required to combine facilities for both very large LNG carriers and small LNG Carriers.

LNG, which can be considered to have a carbon intensity reduction from traditional fuels in the region of 20%, has been identified in many studies as a potential transition fuel, to serve as a bridge from today until future application. With LNG having been used in the industry for many years there is good practical experience which has been obtained.

It is also stated tha by 2050 each ship will need to emit GHG at 25% the 2008 reference to meet the requirement to halve GHG emissions from shipping by 2050, and if shipping doubles by then.

In addition, the new strategies for bunkering in short sea and coastal trade as well as floating production, storage and offloading systems are now becoming a reality. To remind, the IGF Code has included mandatory provisions for the arrangement, installation, control and monitoring of machinery, equipment and systems using low flashpoint fuels, such as LNG.