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DNV GL supports LNG as fuel momentum

LNG Industry,

Momentum is building in the US as ship owners, ports and regulators are realising the benefits of using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as ship fuel.

DNV GL’s Paal Johansen, in charge of the company’s maritime business in the America’s, explains the situation:

“It used to be said that LNG was a chicken or egg problem, but now it is looking as if we not only have the egg, but the chicken and the henhouse too. As we see this trend grow, DNV GL is working to ensure that owners can be confident that not only the technology their vessels need has been vetted, but that the supporting infrastructure and operational practices are well established.”

A combination of rising bunker prices, environmental awareness and regulations, growth in production and developing infrastructure have been crucial to this momentum, which could see LNG establish itself as a viable primary fuel for commercial vessels in the US.

“The US has tremendous natural gas resources, especially from unconventional sources, and production hit the highest levels on record in August 2013. Utilising this resource addresses the key concern in shipping – the rising cost of fuel oil, while at the same time reducing the industry’s impact on the environment,” continues Johansen.

Switch to LNG

A number of ship owners have already committed to switching to LNG, in anticipation of strict air emission regulations under the North American Emission Control Area (ECA) requirements and Phase II of California’s Ocean Going Vessel (OGV) Clean Fuel Regulation. Two owners have already decided to work with DNV GL as they progress towards making their ships compatible with LNG.

Encouraged by the environmental benefits of the cleaner LNG fuel, DNV GL has been asked by Crowley Maritime to provide classification services for its two new LNG-powered ConRo ships

Another shipowner, Matson has also decided to move forward with the construction of two new Aloha class 3600TEU containerships at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard with DNV GL as its partner for classification. The vessels will be the largest containership constructed in the US and will feature dual fuel engines with LNG capability.

“We are proud to have been chosen to support Matson and Crowley on these ground-breaking projects,” comments Paal Johansen. “Their vision in taking this step forward will not only enhance their own competitivity, but will prove valuable for the US shipping industry as a whole. This will also give the yards the opportunity to develop and showcase new competences, while spurring infrastructure development around the country, on top of which their customers will benefit from access to the latest generation of highly efficient ship designs.”

Environmental benefits

Using LNG as fuel allows vessels to significantly reduce emissions, bringing them into compliance with the latest environment regulations. Switching from conventional fuel to LNG has the following benefits:

  • Virtual elimination of particulate matter.
  • Significant reduction of sulfur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions.
  • Up to a 30% reduction of carbon dioxide.

These benefits make vessels fuelled by LNG especially suited to environmentally sensitive coastal areas.

Ongoing research is also helping to lay a solid foundation for the industry. DNV GL won a grant from the US Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD) to analyse the issues and challenges associated with LNG bunkering, and the landside infrastructure needed to store and distribute LNG.

DNV GL also recently launched a recommended practice for authorities, LNG bunker suppliers and ship operators to provide guidance on safe and efficient LNG bunkering.

There are currently 84 LNG-fuelled ships in operation or on order worldwide, 76% of which are classed by DNV GL.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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