In a world-first for the marine industry, Unifeeder-operated vessel ElbBlue was fuelled with liquefied SNG for a trial voyage in a major boost for the shipping industry’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions.
The liquefied SNG, produced at Kiwi’s Power-to-Gas facility in Werlte, Germany is a synthetic form of LNG that is carbon-neutral and generated from 100% renewable energy.
With the European Commission releasing a proposal this year requiring the shipping industry to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050, the development and testing of revolutionary energy sources such as liquefied SNG is an important step in carbon reduction for the industry.
With a blend of 20 tons SNG and 20 tons conventional LNG, the ElbBlue is expected to save approximately 56 tons of carbon output on its coming voyage to St. Petersburg, as opposed to operating on 100% LNG.
With the largest feeder and shortsea network globally, Unifeeder Group vessels operate across Europe, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, and South East Asia.
In 2017, the ElbBlue – then named Wes Amelie – was retrofitted as dual-fuel engine made by MAN Energy Solutions to be able to operate on LNG. MAN Energy Solutions reports that the retrofitted engine reduces SOx emissions by >99%, NOx by approximately 90%, and CO2 by up to 20% basis conventional LNG.
To mark the significance of the trial, an event was held in the port of Brunsbüttel, near Hamburg, Germany. Prominent guests expected to attend included Mr. Daniel Günther, MdL, State Governor of Schleswig-Holstein, Dr. Peter Tschentscher, First Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg/President of the Senate, Mr. Norbert Brackmann, MdB, Maritime Coordinator of the Federal Government, and Dr. Uwe Lauber, CEO MAN Energy Solutions.
Should the trial be successful, it is hoped that renewable SNG and dual-fuel engines can be used to reduce the shipping industry’s carbon output.
“The future availability of green(er) fuels is essential. Our customers in Europe and beyond are expecting innovative solutions for improving our, and thereby also their, carbon footprint. In short, synthetic LNG is an exciting product and we are therefore very proud to be the first operator testing this new fuel on one of our vessels,” Timm Niebergall, Shortsea Director Unifeeder, said.
“This is a crucial step on the road to decarbonizing shipping. In reducing or even eliminating future emissions generated by the global supply chain, synthetic fuels and engine retrofits have a crucial role to play,” Stefan Eefting, Senior Vice President and Head of MAN PrimeServ, Augsburg commented.
“While a retrofit instantly reduces a ship’s emission levels, synthetic fuels like SNG can enable it to run 100% climate-neutrally. Today, we are demonstrating that any LNG-retrofitted ship can also run on fuels generated by power-to-X technology, and even as a mix of fuels depending on availability.”