A meeting of state and federal energy ministers in 2016 highlighted the critical role that gas will play in Australia’s rapidly evolving energy sector. While the media focus has been primarily on the export of LNG and its usage in energy generation, others are working behind the scenes to promote LNG as a marine fuel.
One such organization is the LNG Marine Fuel institute (LNG MFI) who propose that making the switch will bring about key benefits for the environment, economy, innovation and public health.
Based in Perth, LNG MFI works with industry and government stakeholders to provide information, advocacy and expertise to secure the long-term sustainability and impact of LNG as a marine fuel.
“Maritime shipping powered by heavy fuel oil is a major polluter emitting sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide and other pollutants, which are related to at least 24,000 premature deaths per year in East Asia alone,” said Captain Walter P. Purio, Chief Executive Officer of the LNG Marine Fuel Institute.
This human impact is one of key drivers pressuring regulators – such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United Nations - for reduced emissions from ships.
“IMO standards have called for the industry to significantly reduce emissions by 2020, in particular the new standards call for sulphur dioxide emissions from marine fuel to be reduced from 3.5 to 0.5 per cent, with even more stringent standards set to be imposed in a number of OECD countries.”
“By comparison, LNG as a marine fuel emits negligible sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide and particulates emissions,” continued Captain Purio.
Shipping remains the most efficient form of transporting freight on a tonne per kilometre basis, however Australia is more than 90 per cent reliant on imported transport fuels, despite the country’s vast gas reserves.
“LNG as a marine fuel is the first step towards helping Australia achieve energy independence. Current reliance on imported fuels is concerning and an unsustainable model that undermines Australia's energy security,” said the LNG MFI Chief Executive Officer.
Leading Australian gas producer, Woodside shares this opinion and is preparing to switch to LNG as a shipping fuel while also working towards delivering LNG as a fuel for mine-haul trucks and locomotives in the Pilbara. Work is under way to make this happen and to build a local supply chain to support the switch to cleaner fuel.
Currently there are approximately 100 LNG fuelled vessels in operation worldwide. In addition, there are 101 confirmed new builds and a further 72 LNG-ready ships in operation or on order.
LNG MFI’s future fuels initiative aims to provide support and funding to research teams looking to innovate future fuels technology. Partnering government and private enterprise teams in a collaborative knowledge share environment will accelerate research and development in the sector.
For more information on LNG as a marine fuel watch Captain Walter Purio’s presentation during the ‘new markets and new energies’ session on day three of the AOG Collaboration Forum.