Independent study confirms LNG reduces shipping GHG emissions by up to 23%

An independent study has reconfirmed that greenhouse gas reductions of up to 23% are achievable now from using LNG as a marine fuel.

April 13, 2021. An independent study has reconfirmed that greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions of up to 23% are achievable now from using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel, depending on the marine technology employed. This is compared with the emissions of current oil-based marine fuels measured from Well-to-Wake (WtW). The 2nd Lifecycle GHG Emission Study on the use of LNG as a Marine Fuel from Sphera revisits its 2018/2019 research, using the latest available engine and supply chain data to bring the study fully up to date.

The study, commissioned by industry coalitions SEA-LNG and SGMF, was conducted according to ISO standards. It was also reviewed again by a panel of leading independent academic experts from key institutions in France, Germany, Japan and the USA. The analysis concluded that, in addition to the considerable air quality benefits it delivers, LNG can “beyond question” contribute significantly to the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) GHG reduction targets.

Commenting on the research, SEA-LNG Chairman Peter Keller said: “The updated Sphera study ensures that the industry has access to comprehensive research that is fully up to date. It is clear that LNG plays an important role in decarbonisation today with benefits available now. As we look ahead, it is essential that detailed emissions analysis from Well to Wake such as those performed for LNG are available for all alternative fuels contemplated, enabling shipowners to make the right decisions for their fleet.”

This comprehensive report uses the latest primary data to assess all major types of marine engines and global sources of supply with quality data provided by original equipment manufacturers including Caterpillar MaK, Caterpillar Solar Turbines, GE, MAN Energy Solutions, Rolls Royce (MTU), Wärtsilä, and Winterthur Gas & Diesel, as well as from ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total on the supply side.  Methane emissions from the supply chains as well as methane released during the onboard combustion process have been included in the analysis.

Importantly, the study also reaffirms that the use of LNG as a marine fuel has significant air quality benefits, with local emissions, such as sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM), all close to zero.

Samir Bailouni, chairman, Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF), added: “It is important the industry has the best information to make often complex choices between fuels. This study provides authoritative, high-quality data on Well-to-Wake emissions for LNG. We are confident this work will provide IMO with solid information contributing to its regulatory decisions. SGMF will continue to provide up-to-date data not only for LNG but for all candidate gaseous fuels under its remit, including ammonia and hydrogen.”

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