Study to examine developing bio LNG as transport fuel in Rotterdam

Project partners aim to complete the study by the second half of this year.

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Updated on 27 Mar 2017 10:33 GMT

The Port of Rotterdam Authority has announced that it will be carrying out a joint study with the Dutch National LNG Platform which focuses on the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from renewable sources as a transport fuel in the port of Rotterdam.

The study is to consist of three main elements. The first will focus on examining the existing and expected availability of production technologies and processes up until 2030. The second part will be a market study that looks at the availability of sustainable feedstock and the future development of demand. The last element will be business cases for the production, transport and transhipment of bio LNG in Rotterdam's port area.

A total of eight companies that are members of the Dutch National LNG Platform will be supporting the study with their technical, legal and financial expertise and knowledge of the market. The project partners aim to complete the study by the second half of 2017. Based on the research findings, it will then be decided whether - and if so, in which form - Rotterdam will be developing a bio LNG programme.

Explaining the reason for the study, Port of Rotterdam Authority stated that electric propulsion systems were currently not a viable alternative for maritime shipping.

Comparing fuel oil and diesel fuel to LNG, the port said that LNG is "a far cleaner option", with 15 percent lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, 85 percent less nitrogen oxides (NOx), zero sulphur emissions and particulates, and quieter engines.

When arguing the case for bio LNG, the port explained that the emitted CO2 is part of a so-called short cycle where CO2 emissions are actually neutralised by the associated CO2 uptake.

"In other words, bio LNG is a sustainable option that can be both used as a stand-alone fuel or mixed with fossil-based LNG," Port of Rotterdam Authority said.

"Relying on bio LNG rather than regular LNG allows users to drastically reduce CO2 emission levels," the port added.

LNG is already supplied as a transport fuel in Rotterdam to shipping and heavy road transport at the Gas Access to Europe (Gate) terminal, which is operated by Gasunie and Vopak.

LNG supplier Shell has been importing and storing product at the facility since October 2015.