LNG as Propulsion Fuel

The move toward using liquid natural gas (LNG) as a propulsion fuel is continuing to gain momentum as new environmental regulations are enacted and facilities are expanded. LNG propulsion holds the potential to disrupt the largely value chain of maritime and similarly commoditized fuel industry. As such, LNG propulsion is enjoying high awareness across the industries as established positions in the market may be challenged and convergence may enable entirely new key players. This may facilitate a new business eco-system of independent entities.

However, due to imposed regulations from IMO and MARPOL, a need for technologies to clean or eliminate vessel propulsion exhaust has emerged. Though promising prospects, LNG propulsion is fairly an infantile technology in shipping, i.e. progress is needed in infrastructure facilities and bunkering etc., in order to further build and mature the market. Despite a need for extensive modifications to retrofit LNG in vessels, it is an attractive compliance option.

Europe yards have already somewhat proven track record, while Asian yards are rapidly mobilising to accommodate the rising demand. LNG propulsion has developed steadily over time and is to this day applicable across large variety of engine types. Of the key engine manufacturers especially Rolls Royce, Wartsilla, and Man Diesel are active in the market and already produce a variety of commercially proven models.

This reports majorly seeks to present the compliance options for fuel industry, namely, the use of low sulphur fuels, installation of scrubbers and utilization of LNG as propulsion fuel. LNG production/ supply is believed to sufficient to oblige the needed quantities to propel the forecasted penetration in fleet and geographical spread. Yards are generally mobilising to build capacity, know-how and to deliver according to demand at present. The success of LNG propulsion technology and its penetration in the market, is determined by timing, as the infrastructure availability and market potential must be aligned.

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