October 5, 2022. A new study commissioned by SEA-LNG has found that liquified bio-methane (Bio-LNG) can make a major contribution to maritime decarbonization.
Conducted by the Maritime Energy and Sustainable Development Centre of Excellence (MESD CoE) at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), the study explored questions around fuel availability, cost, lifecycle emissions and logistics, providing an overview of the applicability of Bio-LNG as marine fuel. It also investigated the feasibility of LNG and Bio-LNG as a realistic pathway for the shipping industry to achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in a sustainable manner.
Bio-LNG can be blended with fossil LNG in relatively small amounts to reach the 2030 International Maritime Organization (IMO) targets and the biofuel proportion in the mix can be increased to meet 2050 targets.
The findings suggest that pure Bio-LNG could cover up to 3% of the total energy demand for shipping fuels in 2030 and 13% in 2050. If it is considered as a drop-in fuel blended with fossil LNG, Bio-LNG could cover up to 16% and 63% of the total energy demand in 2030 and 2050, respectively, assuming a 20% blending ratio. In the long term, shipowners who have invested in the LNG pathway will need to shift to renewable synthetic LNG (e-LNG).
The report also forecasts that the average cost for delivered Bio-LNG will fall by 30% by 2050 compared to today’s values, mainly driven by the reduced cost of producing biomethane in large-scale anaerobic digestion plants. This makes Bio-LNG one of the cheapest sustainable alternative marine fuels, compared to biomethanol and electro-fuels, including e-ammonia and e-methanol.
Furthermore, the report highlights that the uptake of Bio-LNG in shipping will be linked to the widespread use of biomethane across other sectors. This will require national and international standards for biomethane injection into gas grids, plus a commonly accepted certificates of origin scheme to efficiently trade biomethane in its gaseous and liquefied forms and to minimise transportation costs.