It is the purpose of this report, to focus on an alternative technology which can be used in designing shipping and which distinctly reduces the carbon-di-oxide emissions as a result. Carbon-d-oxide, Nitrous Oxide, Methane etc all constitute the Green House Gases (GHG) (Chen, 2010), and hence in the paper, instead of taking the term of Carbon di Oxide, we would be focusing on GHG Emissions. LNG Technology is chosen as the innovative solution to reduce the carbon-di-oxide emissions, and is to be used in the designing stage of shipping. This along with new regulations all across the global shipping industry, it is aimed to reduce the shipping CO2 emissions by 20% by the end of 2020 (Hughes, 2013).
LNG or Liquefied Natural Gas is a natural gas composed of Methane and some levels of Ethane, which has been converted to a liquefied form for safe and easy transport and storage. It is colourless, does not possess any odour, is non toxic and is also non corrosive. The hazards associated with using LNG is flammability once its vaporized in the gaseous state, asphyxia and freezing. Natural gas, is commonly converted to the LNG in order to use such for transport in the seas, where pipeline laying is not possible economically as well as technically. LNG helps in a higher reduction in the volume than that of the compressed natural gas, hence, the energy density of LNG is 2.4 times than that of CNG or is 60% of that of regular diesel fuel. This makes LNG an attractive option for marine transport fuel, as the cost effectiveness is higher (Mokhatab, Mak, Valappil, & Wood, 2013).
Usage of LNG as a vessel fuel in the marine engine does depend on a number of factors – vessel designs and its performance, the infrastructure, operations, safety, maintenance, capital costs, training etc and these conditions are being addressed by agencies like EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) and USCG (U.S Coat Guard), and other industry societies. In United States and Europe, decision makers are producing guidance and support documents for using LNG as the main transport fuel and subsequently making changes in the vessel constructions, engine designs and other infrastructure investments. United States has started the transition and changes can already be witnessed in the land fleets, and is expected to start in the marine and rail fleets as well. The MARAD ( US Department of Transportation Maritime Administration) as well as the USCG are investigating the development as well as the implementation of the regulatory approval procedure for operations of LNG bunkering and the associated risk management requirements at facilities (Thomson, Corbett, & Winebrake, 2015). As per the MARAD study, the following are the considerations which need to be made to use LNG as the main vessel fuel;
- standards of air quality in the ECA of North America
- development of infrastructure for the specific LNG bunkering
- the social concerns associated with the safety and regulatory gaps (which includes chances of Methane leakage)
- the price differences and lastly
- The increased demand for such a maritime fuel (Holden, 2014).
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is increasingly being promoted by leading shipping industries, as the TFCA (Total Fuel Cycle Analysis) modelling the fuel production and usage of such fuel gives rise to more favourable outcome in terms of GHG emissions and carbon footprint. Usage of liquefied natural gas though is aided by a number of advantages; experts opine that such usage has the potential for leakage of Methane, which subsequently increases the emission levels of GHG (Burel, Taccani, & Zuliani, 2013). However, technology providers are increasingly realizing that efficient engine technology and innovations have reduced such chances of potential methane leakage from LNG, during combustion. Conventional wells, minimizing the distance of pipelines and the storage time, reduce effectively such methane leakage. In order to reduce such leakages, alignment with low –green house gases infrastructure is required so LNG does not result in production of pollution and also minimizes the GHG emissions and is economically beneficial as well. Replacing the HS diesel engines before the LS diesel engines will also help the shipping companies in achieving higher GHG benefits in terms of the pulse context as well as the TWP context.
Conversion to LNG fuel, though has started but not been holistically adopted by the global shipping industry. As per the study by Thomson, Corbett and Winebrake in 2015, there are as many as five factors whose results when conducive, would lead to a mass transformation to LNG (Thomson, Corbett, & Winebrake, 2015). These factors act as drivers for bringing about the required changes in the business decisions as well as public policies in regard to the choice as well as timing of LNG introduction in the marine and shipping industry;
- Environmental factors – Stricter regulations of emissions control focusing on regional shipping favours much cleaner fuels like LNG in the marine transportation
- Social factors – With increasing focus on reducing carbon footing and keeping the environment clean, more alternative energy options are selected and the climate policies favour the use of fuels which meet international and national GHG commitments and hence, LNG is a suitable option
- Technology and Infrastructure – The developed infrastructure of fuel for the entire fuel cycle and the engine / vessel technology designs by experts all favour the transition of traditional fossil fuels to that of LNG especially in the case of marine transportation
- Economic Aspects – Price wise, the LNG when used in long term is economically more beneficial and profitable for the global shipping industry as its prices are lower than that of the global average of traditional fuels and this also acts as an increasing driver for transitioning to LNG
- Demand of maritime – The price competitiveness in the long run, the growth of ports and coastal towns, the regional advantages of the price for such alternative fuels like LNG all act towards a positive transition strategies to using LNG technology.
OECD America and OECD Europe are institutions which favour the transition to LNG in all the factors. It is OECD Asia Oceania and rest of Asia including China, which do not holistically support the decision to move to LNG technology. Though increasingly experts are supporting the transition to natural gas as a maritime fuel, the full scale transition is less likely to occur immediately due to a certain restraints. It is still impractical for the long term development of the required supply of LENG and delivery to the ships depicting an infrastructure limit; it will take a long time (multiple decades) to achieve the fleet-wide environmentally neutral performance of the LNG in the marine transportation depicting a limitation in the technological warming potential and lastly, to achieve a better fit for LNG fuel to be used in shorter transport routes which already allows frequent fuelling thus depicting a technological limit again (Pitblado, Baik, Hughes, Ferro, & Shaw, 2005).
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