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Eurogas: the EU should focus on LNG, bioLNG and eLNG to cut emissions in maritime transport

To reduce emissions from maritime transport, the European Union should increase focus on promoting LNG, bioLNG and eLNG in the sector, recommends the European gas wholesale, retail and distribution association, Eurogas in its recent set of recommendations.

Maritime transport emits around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually and is responsible for about 2.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while LNG reduces emissions from local pollutants significantly compared to conventional maritime fuel oils, according to the association.

“If today’s global marine transport completely switched to LNG, its GHG emissions would decrease by 15 per cent compared with the fleet powered by fuel oils. Taking into account improvements in reducing methane emissions in the LNG supply chain, this benefit could rise to 20 per cent by 2030”, suggests Eurogas.

Moreover, “blending with 20 per cent of bioLNG could further reduce CO2 emissions by up to 34 per cent. Higher blending rate, use of innovative technology – such as fuel cells – and synergy with eLNG and the potential re-use of the (biogenic) CO2 could unlock even deeper decarbonisation.”

To boost the use of these fuels, the association calls for policy-level intervention and appropriate taxation which recognises the contribution of fuels to decarbonisation and environmental performance in the transport sector.

In the upcoming Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID) revision, “natural gas – liquified and gaseous – must remain an alternative fuel source”, remarks the association adding that small-scale LNG infrastructure projects should also be classified as sustainable within the European Commission’s Sustainable Finance Programme.

Currently, there are 206 LNG ships in operation and 295 on order. Overall, LNG-fuelled vessels constitute around 13 per cent of the newbuild order book. In 2022, the number of LNG bunkering facilities in ports will go up at least to 170 from 124 in 2020.

By 2026, the EU will have to establish an adequate number of LNG refuelling points in ports to ensure the circulation of the inland waterway or seagoing vessels.

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