During a keynote speech at the Liquefied Gas and Alternative Fuels Senior Executive Forum in Houston, Texas, Christopher Wiernicki, chairman, president and CEO of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), outlined to US Coast Guard (USCG) leaders the importance of LNG as a fuel to meet the decarbonization targets of the shipping sector.
“We are going to have to begin to balance what we’re facing today, which is, essentially, how do we handle energy security relative to the short-term energy security challenge and the longer-term energy transition? LNG is going to play a leading role in this,” said Wiernicki. “However, for such a key fuel for the energy transition, it is important to recognize it is itself a fuel in transition. And we will need it to not only evolve but to address and mitigate the risks inherent in its operation today if we are to reach our 2050 objectives.”
Wiernicki outlined that LNG vessels had an operational lifespan 10 years longer than their identical and traditionally fueled counterparts, and highlighted that methane slip still represents a major challenge and that aftertreatment technologies are still in development. He added that LNG has the potential to contribute to decarbonization objectives in the long-term through the use of bio-LNG and carbon capture solutions.
“Another challenge LNG has to contend with is the carbon content at its core,” commented Wiernicki. “Here too we can expect to see significant developments. Liquefied biomethane, or bio-LNG, a carbon-neutral fuel produced from sustainable biomass resources, has the potential to meet a significant portion of future shipping energy demand. Not only can bio-LNG be used as a drop-in fuel in existing LNG-fueled engines, but it can also be transported, stored and bunkered in ports using the existing LNG infrastructure.
“But this is just the beginning of LNG’s potential to further contribute to the energy transition. The feedstock of blue hydrogen is methane after steam reforming, when the CO2 produced in the process is captured. While we are scaling up global production of zero carbon green hydrogen, blue hydrogen and, by extension LNG, will have a critical role in filling the gap.”