What’s next for LNG fuelled ships?

The future for LNG fuelled ships depends on price, availability and legislation
The future for LNG fuelled ships depends on price, availability and legislation

Dr Gerd-Michael Würsig is Business Director LNG fuelled ships at DNV GL – Maritime. In this news article he assesses some of the current issues being faced by the LNG industry and gives an overview of what DNV GL is doing to support growth in this growing important market sector as LNG looks set to become ever important as a fuel choice.

“The main drivers, in order of importance for LNG fuelled ships, are price, availability, and of course legislation. LNG as a fuel has the potential to become the most important fuel solution for environmentally sustainable shipping over the next few years,” explained Würsig.

In a low cost market with a vast number of liquefaction plants commissioned or under construction, DNV GL expects global LNG production to grow by around 40 percent over the next four years (as compared to figures from 2014). Looking ahead, DNV GL expects the overall use of alternative fuels to increase, including LNG, methanol, and other new fuels produced from natural resources. The challenge will be aligning partners across the industry and regulators around the world.

To set the stage for safe operations a set of LNG rules were developed by DNV GL early on, introducing the first gas fuel rules in 2001 for ferries being built in Norway. “It is clear that operators and owners are looking to regulators and class societies for guidance. Throughout the week, we’ve repeatedly heard that companies are ‘learning as they go.’ DNV GL’s notations on gas fuelled ships are the most advanced available and address the global picture,” explained Paal Johansen, DNV GL’s Executive Vice President for Region Americas. Currently, there are roughly 160 LNG fuelled ships in operation and on order worldwide. “We are very pleased to see the significant growth within the LNG industry in the Americas. Looking at the newbuilding projects, 25 percent confirmed they will operate in American waters, which means this region will be second only to Europe in terms of LNG operations. DNV GL is committed to supporting operators and suppliers and will continue to deliver solutions to drive growth in the market,” Johansen added.

One of these solutions is DNV GL’s new LNG intelligence portal (LNGi). Released Monday, March 21, it aims to bring stakeholders from across the LNG industry together to share market intelligence and contribute to the uptake of LNG as a ship fuel. The portal allows subscribers to assess the availability of LNG fuel for specific trade routes and newbuild projects. It also provides information about current market developments, as well as status updates of other alternative fuels and emissions reduction technologies across every vessel segment. Leading LNG suppliers and engine manufacturers including, Shell, the Marine division of Rolls-Royce and MAN will be some of the first companies to use LNGi.

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