West Coast group looking at LNG as marine fuel

Canada’s marine industry hopes to take advantage of the relatively low cost of natural gas and develop ways to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel. A joint study has been launched, with seventeen West Coast organizations participating, to identify and address barriers to the use of the fuel. The project has an estimate cost of approximately $1.2 million. BC Ferries, the port authority of Vancouver and the British Columbia Institute of Technology are among the groups taking part.

LNG-fueled-shipping-west-coast-Canada-Vancouver-EDIWeekly
Switching to LNG as a marine fuel could save shippers money and help comply with new regulations on emissions. A West Coast group of companies and researchers is studying how it can be done for Canada’s shipping industry.

Aside from economic considerations, there is an environmental need for finding fuels that produce lower emissions. New emissions regulations, described as “stringent” in a release about the project, are due to come into force in 2015. Vessel owners operating within Canada’s waters will need to use lower sulphur distillate fuel, install exhaust after- treatment technologies or switch to LNG in order to comply. LNG offers significant air quality benefits producing 80 per cent lower NOx and particulate matter, and a 90 per cent reduction in SOx emissions. LNG can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25 per cent from ships.

Some of the economic challenges facing the marine industry in switching to LNG fuel include significant investment in the ships themselves: LNG-fueled engines are more expensive than conventional diesel engines. Also, LNG takes up more storage space than diesel. a fact that can eat up cargo space. There has been little done to date in the retrofitting of existing ships to operate using LNG. Smaller vessels, such as those that operate in inland waters, will likely pose a greater challenge for retrofitting.

On the supply side, new liquefaction plants and storage facilities must be built, and new distribution systems put in place.

All of these costs have yet to be quantified, which is part of the project’s mandate.

The fact that at present the North American market is “exceptionally favourable” for increasing the use of LNG as a marine fuel is one variable that could change significantly. As both the US and Canada prepare to export more and more natural gas to Asia and other markets, that “exceptionally favourable” cost of LNG could disappear. At present, it is estimated that LNG would be about 25 per cent lower in cost than diesel.

“LNG bunkering is being considered by major ports around the world as one way to reduce emissions and enhance sustainability,” said Duncan Wilson, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Port Metro Vancouver, “We are committed to growing Canada’s largest Gateway to the Asia Pacific in a sustainable way and LNG offers the potential to improve environmental performance and enhance our competitive position.”

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • BMW to invest 6 per cent of revenue in R&D; plans to streamline manufacturing to pay for research
  • Canadian company to provide modular housing for refugees in Sweden
  • Windsor, auto industry counting on new Ford investment
  • Montreal company ready to launch tiny greenhouse gas-spotting satellite
  • Utility offers customers Tesla Powerwalls as home energy storage market heats up
  • May manufacturing sales higher on petroleum, cars
  • Ontario government accepts mining report recommendations
  • Windsor's good fortune with Chrysler hiring tempered by TPP concerns
  • Economy grew fastest in north, west in 2012: Statistics Canada
  • Shed a tear for science? University researchers in Ireland harvest electricity from tears
  • SNC-Lavalin-China agreement could expand market for CANDUs
  • Wind projects going ahead in Quebec, public not necessarily on board
  • Google Increasing Artificial Intelligence in Military Spy Drones
  • First anti-icing wind turbine blades will power Quebec community
  • The big picture: How 5G will change industry forever — 4th industrial revolution?
  • Industries, designers not doing enough to recycle metals: UN
  • Toyota Canada top producer for first time in 2015; RAV4 on a roar
  • Too much wind-power may warm the environment more than oil or coal — at least in the short term. Harvard research suggests cautious planning needed
  • BMW unveils i3, the electric car of the future
  • Researchers claim potential improvement in solar cell efficiency
Scroll to Top