Imperial College London white paper sees LNG as an interim fuel

LNG as a ship fuel will not meet shipping’s 2050 pledge to slash emissions in half, a new 126-page white paper from Imperial College London’s Sustainable Gas Institute posits.

The greenhouse gas benefits of natural gas as a transport fuel are useful in the short term, but must be coupled with additional energy efficiency measures and longer term plans, the white paper urges.

The authors of the report say that a combination of options will be needed to meet the goals mainly set out by the IMO.

Natural gas as a transport fuel has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in ships by at least 10%, the white paper states.

“In shipping, natural gas engines, in combination with ambitious energy efficiency improvements, may go a long way towards achieving the required GHG reduction, potentially reducing these by 35% relative to 2008 fleet emissions. However, even assuming very challenging rates of efficiency improvement it appears difficult to meet a 50% GHG emissions reduction target by 2050 using natural gas engines and ship efficiency improvements alone,” the gas report stated.

The researchers predicted other fuel types would come into play before 2050.

“Deeper decarbonisation appears possible if a lower emissions ship technology such as hydrogen fuel cell ships becomes available in the period from 2040 and 2050, potentially leading to a 50% reduction against 2008 fleet emissions. In the meantime, the emissions benefit of natural gas in shipping is attractive, particularly when considered alongside the air pollution benefits,” the white paper stated.

To read the full 126-page report, which also looks at trucks, click here.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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