Liquefied natural gas may not be the ‘fuel of the future’ it purports to be and hydrogen may take on a more significant role in fuel choices in the future, according to a comprehensive modelling report from Lloyd’s Register.
LR Marine Fuels Trend Report
Lloyd’s Register’s latest crystal ball gazing report has modelled the fuel trends of the future and makes interesting reading: for example, it found that LNG may not be the ‘fix-all’ we have all come to believe; hydrogen will become more commonplace by 2030; and CO2 emissions will remain static.
In Global Marine Fuel Trends 2030, Lloyd’s Register, in collaboration with the Energy Institute at the University College London, has attempted to “explore the driving forces and conditions influencing the future marine fuel mix”. The study employs scenario planning methodologies using three scenarios – Status Quo, Global Commons and Competing Nations – that represent alternative futures for the world and shipping in 2030.The report examined the containership, bulk carrier/general cargo and tanker (crude and chemical/products) sectors, representing approximately 70% of the shipping industry’s fuel demand in 2007. On the fuel side, the report included fuels ranging from the liquid fuels used today (heavy fuel oil (HFO), marine diesel oil (MDO), and marine gas oil (MGO)) to their bio-alternatives (bio-diesel, straight vegetable oil) and from LNG and biogas to methanol and hydrogen (derived both from methane or wood biomass). The modelling also included a wide range of energy efficiency technologies and abatement solutions, including sulphur scrubbers and Selective Catalytic Reduction for NOx emissions abatement.LR has two words for its description of the marine fuel mix for containers, bulk carriers and tankers by 2030: “decreasingly conventional”. “HFO will still be very much around in 2030, but in different proportions for each scenario: 47% in Status Quo, to a higher 66% in Competing Nations and a 58% in Global Commons. A high share of HFO means a high uptake of emissions abatement technology.” The drop off in the share of HFO will be offset by a rise in low sulphur alternatives and by LNG, and hydrogen becomes an emerging shipping fuel by 2030 in the Global Commons scenario.
In shipping today, the alternative fuels debate has been dominated by the potential of LNG. But will there be other, potentially viable, options?