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Waiting for future alternative fuels ‘not an option’, says SEA-LNG

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Bio-LNG provides ‘significant’ greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and is already being introduced in shipping, according to SEA-LNG.

Just 10% of drop-in bio-LNG with LNG provides around two years of additional compliance under Poseidon Principles measures, a global framework for the decarbonisation of shipping. Both fuels can be used interchangeably with existing LNG infrastructure and marine engines.

These comments from SEA-LNG form part of a wider comment by the company highlighting why waiting is not an option when it comes to choosing more sustainable fuels.

“Adopting a policy of waiting until a future fuel is proven and available, as some appear to prefer, will only exacerbate the GHG challenge the world is confronting,” the organisation said.

“For every large container vessel that continues to burn fuel oil instead of LNG, the opportunity to reduce emissions by the equivalent of removing 13,000 family cars from the road is missed. As GHG emissions are cumulative, the decarbonisation challenge only gets tougher.”

Often based on ‘outdated’ data, methane slip has become an ‘overused argument’ for those wishing to justify inaction, SEA-LNG said. “There are marine engines on the market today with virtually no slip. It is only an issue for certain LNG engine technologies, and even they exhibit lower GHG emissions than the equivalent heavy fuel oil/marine gas oil operation.

“For this specific subset of engines, reductions are now available from the latest engine designs with further improvements on the horizon.”

Sea-LNG argued that shipping’s current public decarbonisation debate is focused on the destination and pays ‘little attention’ to the roadmap and practical details of how the industry reaches its goals.

“People are trying to define the destination product without a pathway to success,” the organisation said. “The challenge is one of pace and scale and as with any such challenge, what matters most is what we can do now to create the platform for changes that need to happen in the future; a platform where all fuels have a level playing field to compete and one that ensures all are measured on a well-to-wake basis.

“While we may see a ‘basket of fuels’ available in the coming decades, waiting 10-20 years before we make the necessary investments in ships and their associated marine fuel supply chains and human capital will only add to shipping’s decarbonisation challenge.

“Converting the future fleet to new fuels cannot be done overnight but will take a generation or more to complete. The choice today is not between LNG and alternative fuels of the future; industry consensus recognises that the time horizon required means shipping companies will use either LNG or fuel oil until future fuels are readily available. We must start now before more harm is done.”