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Alternative Fuels

SEA LNG: Compare ‘apples with apples’ to cut emissions and costs

Ship owners will lock in higher emissions and cost decarbonisation pathways if they choose alternative fuels which will not be available at commercial scale in near future.

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Global multi-sector industry coalition SEA-LNG on Thursday (7 July) released a framework for comparing the emissions and cost implications of adopting future fuel pathways and urges the industry to make like-for-like comparisons when discussing alternative marine fuels. It believes LNG as a marine fuel delivers immediate GHG benefits and a lower risk, lower cost, incremental pathway to zero emissions:

The industry is making newbuild investment decisions now that will impact greenhouse gas emissions today and for the next 25-30 years, the typical lifetime of a vessel. It is essential their assessments of alternative marine fuel pathways are made on a like-for-like, or “apples with apples” basis. Discussion of alternative fuels too often compares the green versions of ammonia and methanol with fossil, or grey, LNG. The reality is that all fuels share a common pathway from fossil-based versions, produced from natural gas to hydrogen-based, synthetic fuels. These synthetic fuels will only become available as and when sufficient renewable electricity and electrolysis capacity comes online to produce them.

Decarbonisation will not be a “big bang” process where the industry moves in a single step from fossil to zero-emission, renewable fuels. It is likely to take place incrementally as fuels are gradually decarbonised through the addition of low and zero-emission drop-ins.

Shared fossil feedstocks

This transition pathway is illustrated in Figure 1. Almost all alternative fuels today, including LNG, are fossil-based, in fact most are produced from natural gas. LNG is simply natural gas that has been cooled to the point it liquefies. Natural gas, and sometimes coal, is also the feedstock for almost all methanol, ammonia and hydrogen production.

Uniquely, fossil LNG offers significant greenhouse gas emissions reduction when used as a marine fuel compared with VLSFO – up to 23% on a full lifecycle (Well-to-Wake) basis according to an independent study by Sphera . By contrast, the use of fossil methanol, ammonia and (liquid) hydrogen results in emissions far higher than those associated with VLSFO because of the large amounts of energy required for their production.

A biofuel market

Emissions can be significantly reduced through the use of fuels derived from sustainable biomass. BioLNG is already commercially available in Europe as a marine bunker fuel today and has penetrated the heavy-duty vehicle road transportation sector in both Europe and North America. Biomethanol also exists in limited quantities, but mainly as an industrial chemical feedstock.

The ultimate, zero-emissions destination for all alternative fuels is for them to be synthesised from hydrogen produced from renewable electricity. Once this renewable hydrogen building block exists at scale it is possible to produce e-LNG, e-methanol, e-ammonia or e-hydrogen. It is important to note that around 70% to 80% of the cost of producing these e-fuels is associated with hydrogen production

We need to consider the pathway, not simply the destination

The implications for the climate and for shipowners can be best understood by looking at an example of investment decision. In Figure 2 we illustrate the case of a 14,000 TEU container vessel coming into operation in 2025, dual-fuelled with a 25-year lifespan and with renewable fuels becoming available at increasing scale from about 2030 onwards.

SEA LNG: Compare ‘apples with apples’ to cut emissions and costs

Modelling the emissions over the life of the vessel we can see that LNG offers immediate GHG reductions decreasing to zero-emissions by 2050. The bar chart shows an overall emissions reduction for the LNG pathway of more than 50% over the lifetime of the vessel, compared with VLSFO; for methanol and ammonia the corresponding reductions are 37% and 28%.

If we now look at the methanol and ammonia pathways, they also offer lifetime emissions reductions, but the reductions are smaller – 37% and 28% respectively – as they start from a “worse” place. Fossil methanol emissions are 14% higher than VLSFO on a full lifecycle basis; for ammonia the corresponding number is 47%. This is likely to mean owners and operators choosing methanol and ammonia pathways will be forced to continue using VLSFO, postponing emissions reduction for several years.

For methanol and ammonia to achieve emissions parity with LNG they will require blends of approximately 30% renewable methanol and 50% renewable ammonia immediately. The fossil versions of methanol and ammonia are already significantly more expensive than LNG and the renewable versions are likely to cost multiples more than their fossil equivalents. This will make the starting points for these pathways considerably more expensive than beginning with LNG. Note, this ignores any indirect costs associated with creating new bunkering infrastructure, which will be necessary for e-methanol, e-ammonia and e-hydrogen.

Waiting is not an option

In summary, committing to solutions which rely on alternative fuels which will not be available at commercial scale in a renewable form for the foreseeable future, means owners locking in higher emissions and higher cost decarbonisation pathways. LNG as a marine fuel delivers immediate GHG benefits and a lower risk, lower cost, incremental pathway to zero emissions.

Steve Esau, Chief Operating Officer, SEA-LNG said: “When looking at the advantages and disadvantages of alternative fuels, we should be assessing the characteristics of each fuel type on a like-for-like basis. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are a stock problem as well as a flow problem. The industry needs to consider the pathway to decarbonisation, not just the destination. Waiting is not an option.

“The consequences of delaying the shift away from fuel oils, which will cause faster rising cumulative emissions, meaning the challenge to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases will be harder. Shipping needs to assess fuel pathways based on how they can deliver decarbonisation benefits now, and in the future, and also the likely cost to society of these pathways”.

 

Photo credit: SEA LNG
Published: 8 July, 2022

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Alternative Fuels

SMW 2024: Yinson GreenTech partners with EPS on electric vessel trials

YGT’s marine electrification business, marinEV, and EPS will perform trials involving the first cargo delivery with an electric vessel and the first crew transfer with an electric vessel in Singapore.

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SMW 2024: Yinson GreenTech and EPS forge alliance on electric vessel trials

Yinson GreenTech (YGT), a leading green technology solutions provider, has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS), a global leader in maritime transportation, during Singapore Maritime Week 2024, both parties said in a joint statement on Thursday (18 April). 

This collaboration, spearheaded by YGT’s marine electrification business, marinEV, marks a significant step towards cleaner and more sustainable maritime operations in Singapore, with the following key milestones on the horizon:

Electric vessel deployments

  • First cargo delivery with an electric vessel in the Port of Singapore: marinEV and EPS aim to be at the forefront of maritime history by jointly facilitating the first cargo delivery using an electric vessel within the Port of Singapore. This aligns with both companies’ commitment to environmental responsibility and demonstrates their dedication to creating a net zero world.
  • First crew transfer with an electric vessel in Singapore: Recognising the critical role of crew transfers in maritime operations, marinEV and EPS will collaborate on the first crew transfer conducted by an electric vessel in Singapore. This trial will provide valuable data on the feasibility, efficiency, and safety of electric vessels for crew transportation, paving the way for wider industry adoption.

SMW 2024: Yinson GreenTech and EPS forge alliance on electric vessel trials

The Hydromover and Lake Herman

Building upon their commitment to sustainability, marinEV will enter into a collaborative agreement with EPS. This partnership aims to integrate electric vessels into last-mile delivery operations, significantly reducing Scope 3 emissions and contributing to a cleaner shipping industry. By jointly defining ambitious emission reduction goals, marinEV and EPS will work together to create a more sustainable future for maritime transportation.

“At Yinson GreenTech, we believe that collaboration is key to unlocking a cleaner future for our oceans. Our partnership with Eastern Pacific Shipping on these groundbreaking electric vessel deployments in Singapore signifies a major leap forward,” said Jan-Viggo Johansen, Managing Director of marinEV. 

“Together, we are not only making history but also paving the way for a future where clean and efficient transportation solutions become the norm. This is an exciting moment for us, and we are committed to working closely with EPS, our existing partners and other industry leaders to achieve a truly sustainable maritime landscape.

“It is heartening to see like-minded partners in the industry adopt the ‘act now’ approach like us, taking action and exploring innovative solutions on all fronts,” said Cyril Ducau, Chief Executive Officer of EPS.

“This collaboration with Yinson GreenTech not only offers a greener transportation alternative, it also builds on the industry’s collective commitment to accelerate the decarbonisation of shipping. We don’t do things because they are easy. We do it because they are difficult so that we leave no stones unturned in our efforts to decarbonise.”

Related: Yinson GreenTech all-electric crew transfer vessel to undergo sea trials in Singapore

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 19 April 2024

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Bunker Fuel

SMW 2024: Maritime International Advisory Panel discusses decarbonisation, green financing, digitalisation

Panel noted that financial institutions were willing to provide lending for suitable projects to support maritime decarbonisation with sufficient assurance that the default risks were managed.

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SMW 2024: Maritime International Advisory Panel discusses decarbonisation, green financing, digitalisation

The Maritime International Advisory Panel (IAP) held its third annual meeting on 16 April 2024, during the Singapore Maritime Week 2024. 

This year, the Maritime IAP held in-depth discussions on the key developments in the maritime sector, including decarbonisation, green financing, digitalisation and cybersecurity. 

Members of the panel who were present included Hiroaki Sakashita, President and CEO, ClassNK, Stephen Fewster, Managing Director, Global Head, Shipping Finance, ING Bank, Nick Brown, CEO, Lloyd’s Register, and Jonathan Wright, Global Managing Partner, Global Finance and Supply Chain Transformation Service Line Leader, IBM.

Established in 2022 by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the Maritime IAP aims to seek international perspectives on key long-term trends and developments that will shape the maritime industry. 

It comprises global leaders from the maritime sector, adjacent industries and academia, and is chaired by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance. Local industry and union leaders also joined the meeting to share their perspectives.

IAP comprises global leaders from the maritime sector, adjacent industries and academia, and is chaired by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance.

IAP comprises global leaders from the maritime sector, adjacent industries and academia, and is chaired by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance.

Key Trends and Opportunities for the Maritime Sector

The Maritime IAP highlighted that despite geopolitical uncertainties and supply chain shifts, there were significant opportunities for the global maritime sector in the following areas:

  • Accelerating the green transition towards a low- and zero-carbon future, supported by important enablers such as financing for green shipping;
  • Deepening the utilisation of technology and digitalisation while strengthening cyber resilience; and
  • Training and re-skilling the maritime workforce to take on the new job opportunities of the future.

The Maritime IAP emphasised that Singapore plays an important role in facilitating global trade flows, supporting global maritime decarbonisation, and advancing maritime digitalisation and cyber-resilience. 

Singapore’s position as a trusted and established maritime eco-system could catalyse green financing solutions, unlock the benefits of deeper utilisation of technology and data, and position it as a training hub to develop the skills needed by the future maritime workforce.

Strengthening Maritime Ecosystem Amid Global Shifts and Green Transition

Against the backdrop of global uncertainties, the Maritime IAP highlighted that Singapore could be an important trade and maritime intermediary, given its status as a neutral, trusted, and leading maritime hub. With growing trade to emerging regions as trade flows shifted, the panel believed Singapore would be an important conduit for new trades going forward. The panel further suggested for Singapore to become a trusted maritime technology hub for the development, installation, and accreditation of critical technologies, especially for those fitted onboard ships.

The Maritime IAP noted that amidst the ongoing green transition, there would be competing demands for various low- or zero-carbon fuels (e.g. hydrogen, ammonia, methanol) from other sectors.

The Maritime IAP highlighted the need to draw on a wide range of green financing instruments and investments to catalyse change, address hurdles and accelerate the sector’s green transition. 

The panel also noted that financial institutions were willing to provide lending for suitable projects to support maritime decarbonisation with sufficient assurance that the default risks were managed. To address the financing needs of the sector, the panel suggested for maritime stakeholders to pool their needs, while demand aggregation would help smaller companies gain better access to suitable solutions and financing, and also allow financial institutions to better determine and manage the risks involved.

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 19 April 2024

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LNG Bunkering

GLBP submits permit applications to build and operate Galveston LNG bunker terminal

Small scale natural gas liquefaction facility will be the region’s first dedicated LNG bunker terminal to provide clean LNG as bunker fuel.

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Galveston LNG Bunker Port

Galveston LNG Bunker Port (GLBP) recently announced that it filed applications with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) seeking authorization to site, construct and operate the proposed GLBP small scale natural gas liquefaction facility on Shoal Point in Texas City, Texas, in the heart of the Galveston Bay/Greater Houston port complex. 

The GLBP project will be the region’s first dedicated LNG bunker terminal to provide clean LNG as marine fuel.

Galveston LNG Bunker Port has filed key regulatory applications with relevant government agencies, including the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the Clean Water Act and Rivers & Harbors Act, Texas Railroad Commission (TRRC) for the Texas Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Water Quality Certification, and United States Coast Guard (USCG) for Waterway Suitability Assessment (WSA).

The USACE application for the proposed project includes two natural gas liquefaction trains capable of producing approximately 600,000 gallons per day of LNG; two 3-million-gallon full containment LNG storage tanks; natural gas liquids and refrigerant storage; feed gas pre-treatment facilities; a bunker vessel loading berth and associated marine and loading facilities.

“The Galveston LNG Bunker Port project continues to meet its milestones, and we are very excited to announce that the necessary permitting applications have been submitted,” said Shaun Davison, Chief Development Officer of Pilot LNG. 

“We are confident that we will meet the rigorous requirements of State & Local permitting authorities to ensure that the project is delivered on-time and will meet the ever-growing demand for clean fuel supply in the Galveston Bay, and US Gulf Coast region by the end of 2026.”

Pilot LNG and Seapath Group signed a project development agreement in September of 2023 that provides a framework for the development, technical design, permitting and marketing of the proposed liquefaction project, which is estimated to come online in late 2026. 

The global maritime industry is increasingly adopting LNG as a marine fuel to significantly reduce emissions and meet tightening regulations, including IMO 2020, which came into effect January 1st, 2020.

Joshua Lubarsky, President of Seapath Group, said: “Our experience in developing, building and operating energy infrastructure will help us with this much-needed facility.” Lubarsky continues “This facility is a critical investment into the resilience of the United States’ maritime infrastructure, and upon construction will immediately provide positive environmental and economic impacts in Texas City, Galveston Bay, and the US Gulf Coast.”

Ongoing development of the project is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. The final investment decision to proceed with construction is contingent upon completing required commercial agreements, acquiring all necessary permits and approvals, and securing financing commitments.

Related: Galveston LNG Bunker Port secures site in Texas for proposed LNG bunkering facility
Related: Seapath, Pilot LNG launch JV to develop dedicated LNG bunkering facility in US Gulf Coast
Related: Houston: Pilot LNG announces regulatory filing for Galveston LNG Bunker Port
Related: Pilot LNG submits documentation to USCG for proposed LNG Bunker Port at Galveston

Related: Pilot LNG awards Galveston LNG Bunker Port FEED contract to Wison Offshore & Marine

 

Photo credit: Galveston LNG Bunker Port
Published: 19 April 2024

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