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New study on liquefied natural gas as a marine fuel for the Canadian Arctic


A detailed study by the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance (CNGVA), VARD Marine, and Clear Seas with support from Transport Canada’s Innovation Centre, investigated the feasibility, benefits, and risks of the use of natural gas to replace some or all of the current diesel and heavy fuel oil used in the Canadian Arctic.

Key Takeaway

The technologies that support all aspects of using LNG as a marine fuel are well proven and no technological barriers preventing the use of LNG under Arctic conditions exist. The economic feasibility of LNG depends on a discount between natural gas and oil prices, because of the need to repay higher capital cost of new and retrofitted LNG systems on ships.

LNG’s ability to reduce air and water pollution may drive its growth as a marine fuel in support of meeting current and pending environmental regulations like the heavy fuel oil (HFO) ban. The environmental benefits of LNG include reductions in oil spill risk and emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur oxides (SOX), nitrogen oxides (NOX), particulate matter, and black carbon. However, emissions of methane, a powerful short-term greenhouse gas, increase. The change in 100-year global warming potential CO2-equivalent emissions in the Canadian Arctic region from the different LNG implementation scenarios depends on which engine technology is used, with limited or no benefit from using the more common high-methane emissions engines and up to 29% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the less common low-methane emissions engines.

«Alternatives to petroleum-based fuels like diesel or heavy fuel oil for the Arctic are urgently needed. This report provides policy makers, industry, and local communities with the information they need to decide if LNG is a good choice.» – Clear Seas

The study is available HERE