Will LNG be used as fuel for ships?

LNG as a marine fuel

A meaningful contribution to reducing air pollution and global warming?

As a maritime fuel, liquid gas is intended to significantly reduce emissions in the shipping sector. However, important questions relating to the environmental balance, lifecycle considerations and infrastructure are often not sufficiently discussed or have not yet been clarified.

Ship chimney - Photo: NABU / Schulte

The reduction of air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions has finally also become a pressing issue for shipping. Even if the ship is considered to be a comparatively climate-friendly mode of transport in terms of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) per tonne-kilometer, the environmental balance in the area of ​​air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and soot particles is significantly worse. The use of LNG (liquefied natural gas) as a marine fuel is increasingly being discussed as a possible solution. This especially against the background of a further tightening of the limit values ​​for sulfur and nitrogen oxides on a global level in the coming years. However, important questions relating to the environmental balance, lifecycle considerations and infrastructure are often not sufficiently discussed or have not yet been clarified. NABU aims to evaluate a technology holistically in terms of its ecological effects and risks for people and the environment.

The heavy oil, which is primarily used as marine fuel today, but also the higher quality marine diesel, cause enormous environmental pollution due to their exhaust gases, but also in the event of accidents. An alternative is unavoidable if shipping as the central means of transport in a globalized world economy is to have an ecologically compatible future. In addition to diesel with extensive exhaust gas aftertreatment, electrical drive components in combination with renewable energies and wind drives could make significant contributions in the future to reducing air pollutants and climate-affecting emissions from shipping.

With regard to a largely decarbonised transport sector in 2050, fossil gas can at best represent a transition technology - renewable energy sources must be given preference as soon as possible.


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