Consensus among German and Dutch shipowners: LNG is currently the only realistically applicable fuel in shipping

LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen (c/o MARIKO GmbH) invites to the German-Dutch Shipowners’ Dialogue

Online-Conference. There are many reasons for using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a fuel in shipping. Nevertheless, even many years after the first LNG-powered ships have entered service, there are still numerous challenges and need for action, which were highlighted and discussed by around 60 shipping company representatives at the cross-border online event “LNG as fuel: Status update” organized by LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen on the 25th of March 2021.

Photo clockwise from top left: Inga Lauts (Projektmanagerin der LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen/MARIKO GmbH), Ramona Zettelmaier (Senior Sales & Customer Relation Manager, Bureau Veritas), Claes Möller (Chief Executive Officer, Terntank Ship Management), Rolf Stiefel (Regional Chief Executive Central Europe & Russia, Bureau Veritas), Sjaak Klap (Principal Environmental Advisor, Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel [SGMF]), Paul Melles (Technischer Direktor Koninklijke Doeksen BV).

“Overcoming borders – that’s a good keyword for the topic of LNG as well. We will all move forward more efficiently if we act together. To this end, let’s combine creativity and innovative power when we talk about experiences and perspectives in the application of LNG. The faster the industrial, smooth application of LNG is put into practice on a broad scale, the faster the potential of LNG can be exploited” with these words Captain Alfred Hartmann, President of the German Shipowners’ Association (VDR) and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Hartmann AG, welcomed the participants to the event. Annet Koster, Managing Director of the Koninklijke Vereniging van Nederlandse Reders (KVNR), agreed with this assessment. She sees LNG, and in particular the application of bio-LNG and synthetic LNG, as a significant part of the fuel and energy mix on the way to zero-emission shipping.

The Dutch shipping company Anthony Veder has been adopting LNG as a fuel on its ships for years. Business and Fleet Development Manager Björn van de Weerdhof praised not only the reduction in emissions, but also the good – and ever-increasing – availability and the simple, clean and safe handling of the fuel. In addition, he said, LNG is cheaper than other alternative fuels such as hydrogen and methanol and has a higher energy density per cubic meter, making it much more space-efficient to transport.

One challenge that still needs to be addressed is the further reduction of methane slip, the escape of unburned methane in the combustion process. Here, there is still a need for development on the part of engine manufacturers. There is also potential for optimization with regard to the further

reduction of CO2 emissions. One option for this – in addition to the use of fossil-free LNG – is the so-called carbon capture process on board, which is being worked on by a German-Dutch consortium in the CO2ASTS project (CO2 capture, storage and transfer in shipping), among others. According to the experts, one incentive for the further reduction of CO2 will be the expected introduction of a CO2 tax.

In addition to the further reduction of emissions, the technological commitment must also be used to reduce costs in order to further introduce LNG. In this context, the shipping companies believe that charterers should also be held more accountable and reward the application of environmentally friendly fuels.

Rolf Stiefel, Managing Director of Bureau Veritas Germany, called for continued cooperation in the future and a joint contribution to ensuring that an objective discussion is also held at political and IMO level and that the role of LNG on the road to decarbonization of shipping is better understood.

The presentations of the event are available for download here.

The Online-Conference was organized within the frame of the LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen (Geschäftsstelle MARIKO GmbH) and in cooperation with Verband Deutscher Reeder, dem Koninklijke Vereniging van Nederlandse Reders und Bureau Veritas.

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