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LNG as fuel for shipping

LNG is considered to be a very suitable fuel for heavy transport over long distances.. Using clean LNG as a shipping fuel fits in with the aim of making port, inland waterway and short-sea shipping as well as ferrying and fishing more sustainable. LNG used as a transport fuel is relatively new for the Netherlands; there is almost no infrastructure for LNG supply in smaller quantities for the use of LNG as a transport fuel. TNO helps to get the small scale LNG supply chain off the ground by transferring technology, investigating the environmental and economic effects and its safety.

As an independent party and in collaboration with the industry, TNO offers the possibility of removing the current obstacles to establishing the chain, such as lack of legislation, unknown permit conditions and absence of a knowledge base for safety and LNG technology. Different cooperation initiatives that have already been started. While LNG is in the picture as a transport fuel among both suppliers and end users in the chain, there is yet to be a breakthrough. However, one key obstacle to establishing the logistics chain is the issue of who takes the first extra measures that have to be taken.

Legal and safety assesment

In order to be able to consider LNG as a serious option, a number of legal obstacles will have to be overcome. To remove these barriers, governmental authorities are supporting local experimental initiatives to apply LNG as fuel for transport. Although the support of several single projects works out to be very practical, it does not cover legal issues. And, solving legal barriers is a prerequisite to justify investments in LNG supply infrastructure. In Februari 2011 TNO started a joint industry project called LESAS with the objective to develop a roadmap towards an optimal small scale LNG supply chain for the Rotterdam area from a safety, commercial, technical and legal point of view based on the long term vision of relevant stakeholders. At the same time possible legal barriers for LNG in the international guidelines, governmental legislation and technology will be outlined. Recommendations will be presented to overcome these barriers. The project partners DNV, NEN and TNO (leading partner) facilitate the process and perform the actual assessment, in part based on input from the participating stakeholders.

Environmental and economic aspects

A study was conducted to investigate the environmental aspects, and to a lesser extent economic aspects, of using LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) as a fuel for different types of ships. The study was supported by the Dutch Maritime Innovation Program (MIP) and 12 industrial stakeholders. The investigation was carried out as a case study for three different types of ships (container feeder, harbour tug and inland ship) which have their base in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The environmental aspects include greenhouse gas (GHG) and air pollutant emissions. The GHG emission comparison included three LNG chains and three diesel fuel chains (HFO, MDO/MGO and EN590). In addition a limited economic analysis was done, comparing the potential fuel cost savings of LNG with the additional costs of LNG powered vessels.

For the full report go to the download page

Environmental and Economic aspects of using LNG as a fuel for shipping in The Netherlands



Dr. ir. René Peters

  • Hydrogen
  • Gas
  • LNG
  • Transition
  • Offshore Energy


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