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TotalEnergies: LNG to play an important role in marine bunkers in current decade

24 Jan 2022

Total Energies on Friday published a statement regarding the role of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in shipping’s decarbonisation future:

As we head towards IMO2050, there is no doubt that the future of shipping will comprise a mix of fuel solutions and the shipping industry will need all of them to meet future fuel demands.

We believe LNG has an important role, along with bioenergies and hydrogen-based fuels, in shipping’s energy transition. The adoption of marine LNG is expected to continue to experience an accelerated growth into 2030.

In tandem with this growth, we believe within this decade (2021-2030), the shipping industry will see the practical development and deployment of a variety of bioenergies and hydrogen-based fuels, including e-Methanol, e-Methane (synthetic LNG), e-Ammonia and e-Hydrogen.

The application of these fuel solutions will centre on first-mover initiatives and pilot trials, which are designed to demonstrate the capability of new vessels in using these fuels.

Finally, the market’s scaling up of hydrogen-based fuels is likely to materialize between 2030-2040, in line with the ramp up of electrolysis to commercial levels.

A Global Leader in LNG Today and Low-Carbon LNG Tomorrow

TotalEnergies aims to eliminate carbon wherever possible in the LNG value chain, from gas production to LNG plants and carriers.

Additionally, TotalEnergies plans to produce low-carbon LNG. One of the methods involves blending biogas or clean hydrogen with natural gas, or to use in its place.

In September 2020, TotalEnergies created a Biogas business unit within its Gas, Renewables and Power (GRP) branch, to build up capabilities for this fuel. The Biogas business unit plans to produce 1,500 GWh of biomethane annually by 2025 and 4,000 to 6,000 GWh a year by 2030.

It will draw on the Company’s existing operations in the biogas industry and its sale and purchase agreements for more than 50 GWh/year through its affiliates, including: Quadran-Methanergy, which builds methanation and waste gas recovery units, Clean Energy in the US, and its affiliates in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany that maintain a network of bio-natural gas vehicle fuel and bio- LNG stations.

Additionally, in January 2021, TotalEnergies acquired Fonroche Biogaz, the largest producer of biogas in France, which holds an installed capacity of 500 GWh, thereby further strengthening the Company’s presence in the market.

While TotalEnergies Marine Fuels’ goal is to be able to provide physical supply of liquefied biomethane bunkers to our shipping customers, the high costs of liquefying and transporting this fuel makes it uneconomical as an immediate standalone solution.

One associated development that may create demand for greener LNG blends is consumer demand for green fuel certification such as the Guarantees of Origin (GO) certificates mechanism. With the successful introduction of bioLNG via the GO certificates mechanism in November 2020, we will ramp up this offer to our customers to steer the industry towards these lower-carbon marine fuel solutions.

Accelerating the Drive Towards Biofuels in the Shipping Sector

In terms of the alternative fuel solutions available today, we believe biofuels will provide a critical role in the future fuels mix, given that they can be blended into existing fuels and deployed across the current fleet.

TotalEnergies has announced plans to increase our biofuels production capacity as part of our new strategy. The Company plans to increase our biofuels production capacity from 0.3mt/year in 2020 to 2mt/year by 2025 and 5mt/year by 2030.

To make that ambition a reality, TotalEnergies is seeking to develop synergies with existing assets, such as our La Mede biorefinery(8), which was converted from a conventional refinery in 2019 and has the capacity to produce 500 KT of biofuels annually.

In September 2020, we also announced a project to convert our Grandpuits refinery into a zero-crude complex(9) including biofuels and bioplastics units, which are expected to be commissioned by 2024, with an annual production capacity of 170 KT of sustainable aviation fuel, 120 KT of road biofuel and 50 KT of bionaphtha for producing bioplastics.

Additionally, TotalEnergies and five partners are working hard to industrialize the BioTfueL® technology(10) with an aim to its commercialization in early 2022. The BioTfueL® project is designed to transform lignocellulosic biomass (straw, forest waste, dedicated energy crops) into biofuel via thermochemical conversion. The partners’ goal is to develop an end-to-end set of processes for producing second-generation biodiesel and biojet fuel.

Consequently, TotalEnergies is also exploring the development of dedicated biofuels for shipping.

Developing Hydrogen-based Fuel Solutions

In July 2020, TotalEnergies set up a Clean Hydrogen business unit, with the goal of shaping the Company’s ambition to become a large-scale producer of carbon-free Hydrogen.

Through this dedicated unit, we see strong potential for the development of a range of Hydrogen-based marine fuel solutions including e-Methane (synthetic LNG), e-Methanol, e-Ammonia and e-Hydrogen.

R&D is critical to help us achieve these goals, and at TotalEnergies, we are joining forces along with other key industry leaders to intensify our investigation into these future fuel solutions, starting with e-Ammonia.

Projects include:

  • A joint study framework with 34 leading companies across diverse industries to study common issues on Ammonia as an alternative marine fuel (11)
  • A joint project with other maritime industry leaders, through the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping (12), to assess the technical, financial and environmental potential of converting existing vessels to future fuel solutions and technology.

Furthermore, since 2019, TotalEnergies’ membership in the Ammonia Energy Association – a global industry association that promotes the responsible use of Ammonia in a sustainable energy economy – has enabled us to deepen our investigation of Ammonia within our portfolio of clean energy technologies.

These efforts underscore TotalEnergies’ aspiration to be a world-class player in the energy transition to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, together with society. As part of the Company’s strategy, we will develop broad energy solutions for mobility to take carbon out of transport.

External participation

Joining Forces to Decarbonize the Maritime Industry

Moving shipping into a carbon-free future will require collective action with stakeholders throughout shipping’s ecosystem, as well as cross-industry collaborations.

TotalEnergies’ active participation in various shipping and cross-industry initiatives and coalitions, underscores our commitment to support shipping’s decarbonization goals and to help accelerate the development of future fuels.

 

Photo credit: TotalEnergies
Published: 24 January, 2022

 

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