A report by European Commission’s Joint Research Centre reveals that LNG as fuel, together with methanol, is the fuel best suited for the decarbonisation of the shipping sector.
Alternative fuels have already entered the market with shipbuilders, engine manufacturers and classification societies introducing ships running on “cleaner” fuels.
“Shipping is more fuel-efficient than road transport: it requires 2-3 grams of fuel per ton per km, compared to road transport by truck which is about 15 grams of fuel per ton per km,” the report said.
However, the greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping industry represented 4 percent of Europe’s GHG emissions in 2013, with the potential to more than double by 2050 compared to numbers from 2010, due to global economic growth and the transport demand.
The results of the report show that from a long-term perspective, moving to LNG and methanol is strategically attractive as each of the two fuels has a biofuel counterpart, bio-methane and bio-methanol.
This would enable the use of LNG infrastructure for the supply of bio-methane and bio-methanol without major alterations of the infrastructure. Additionally, LNG and methanol could be the transitional fuels before moving on to the biofuels.
The use of biofuels depends on a number of factors, like the environmentally sustainable biomass feedstock for the production, as well as the cost-effective production technologies and the market penetration.
The European Union is looking to shift the road transport load to the marine and inland waterway systems and develop the two in complementing areas such as technology development, implementation, government support and deployment.