The transportation industry, like most other industries, contributes to emissions of local pollutants (i.e. NOx, SOx) and particles, consequently resulting in significant health problems in North America, as well as in other parts of the world. Local, regional and international regulators have implemented new regulations in order to address these issues. In the report 'Greener shipping in North America', DNV concludes that LNG fuel is the supreme solution to compliance with the upcoming Emission Control Areas (ECA) requirements to be enforced in North America from August 2012.
Actions to reduce local pollution
Several actions are being implemented around the world and in North America particularly with the objective to reduce local pollution, including emissions reduction requirements for the shipping industry. Such requirements are being implemented gradually and will be in full force by 2015 and 2016, leaving shipowners a limited number of options for modifications to their ships so as to continue trading in North America.
“The shipping industry in North America needs to find a solution that is economically viable, technologically proven and safe in order to respond to future regulations”, says Kenneth Vareide, Director of Operations for DNV’s North America maritime operation.
“In order to realise the environmental benefits of moving freight traffic from land to sea, the shipping industry must choose whether to burn cleaner fuels or clean its exhaust gases.”
A newly released DNV report concludes that out of these options for compliance, LNG fuelled engines is the best option, both from an environmental and economic point of view. A LNG fuelled ship reduces the emissions of NOx by 85-90%, and SOx and particles by close to 100%, compared to today's conventional fuel. In addition, LNG fuelled ships will come with 15-20 % reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions. Implementing LNG fuel on a significant portion of the fleet is the best and most cost-effective solution for reducing environmental emissions in North America.
“Ship owners and operators basically have three options to choose from: switch to low sulphur fuel within the ECA areas, install scrubbers to remove the sulphur from the exhaust gas or switch to LNG as fuel”, says Vareide.
He continues: “There are many strong arguments for why LNG is the best solution out there right now, both in terms of environmental footprint as well as economically. The only reason why some of the owners are holding back is due to the current availability of LNG. As this study shows however, LNG can already be made available in North America and will become even more accessible in the future. Speaking to representatives from the gas industry has reaffirmed the latter. As more owners opt to switch to LNG, proliferation of LNG availability is expected as the demand grows. “