Speaking at a briefing in London yesterday (18 February), Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, the CEO of DNV GL – Maritime, maintained that: ‘The pathway to carbon-neutral fuel starts with gas’ and LNG will be ‘the best fuel choice for one, maybe two ship generations.'
Although LNG has been steadily gaining a reputation within the shipping industry as a ‘cleaner’ transition fuel, its green credentials have been questioned by some in the environmental lobby because of ‘methane slip’. The debate sparked up last month when the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) published a report which claimed that ‘the most popular LNG ship engine, particularly for cruise ships, emits between 70% and 82% more life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the short-term compared to clean distillate fuels’.
The ICCT report was particularly concerned with methane emissions – both in terms of the leakage in the upstream extraction and production of the fuel and its combustion on board ship.
At the London briefing yesterday, Ørbeck-Nilssen acknowledged the ICCT study, but argued that methane slip is ‘a critical, yet manageable challenge’. According to Ørbeck-Nilssen, methane slip has already been ‘drastically reduced in modern engines’ – and ‘further reductions are expected’. Ørbeck-Nilssen added that ‘two thirds of LNG fuel consumption in the near future is expected to come from 2-stroke engines’ – which have a higher GHG emissions saving potential than four-stroke engines.
‘Gas offers the possibility of phasing in other types of better fuels – and we to keep an open mind on those future fuels,’ added Ørbeck-Nilssen.