December 20, 2019. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a pioneer fuel for ecological propulsion in navigation, said Norbert Brackmann, maritime coordinator of the German government.
Brackmann noted that, at present, the predominant fuel is heavy fuel oil, which is associated with high polluting emissions.
The expert explained that if LNG were used, emissions of sulfur oxides and fine dust particles would be reduced by almost 100% and nitrogen oxides by more than 70%.
“The rapid change to LNG is currently the best that can be done in terms of environmental policy for large-scale maritime navigation,” added Brackmann.
Brackmann commented that shipowners are also rethinking this point and are increasingly willing to invest. “Worldwide, 44% of new orders now include LNG engines,” he added.
One of the advantages of liquefied natural gas is that it cools to 163 degrees Celsius below zero, thus losing an extreme amount of volume, and can be transported in cisterns, trucks or tank vehicles. However, LNG must be regasified, that is, returned to its original state, in order to be used as fuel and also distributed in gas networks.
There is still no LNG import terminal in Germany. The plans are in full development in cities like Wilhelmshaven, Brunsbüttel, Stade and, on a smaller scale, in Rostock.