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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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SGMF chief advises industry to address carbon pollution or face 'severe regulation'

Mark Bell says shipping 'needs to act quicker than it ever has before'.

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Updated on 06 Oct 2017 17:03 GMT

The general manager of the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF), Mark Bell, has issued a reminder to the shipping industry that "severe regulation" could be just around the corner if not enough is done to accelerate reduction programmes that contribute towards lowering global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs)... and dealing with the issue of carbon pollution.

With the global 0.5 percent cap just over two years away and shipping and bunker companies likely to be focusing their main efforts on devising strategies that lower sulphur content, Bell has indicated in a company blog this week that carbon pollution is another issue that should not be ignored.

"The elephant in the room for shipping is carbon and it [the industry] needs to act quicker than it ever has before," he observed.

While CO2 emissions during LNG combustion are considerably lower than those of other fossil fuels, combustion of LNG - a carbon-based fuel of fossil origin that consists mostly of methane - still results in CO2 emissions.

A report this year by the Industrial Ecology Programme and Department of Energy and Process Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and SINTEF Ocean warned that a "one-sided focus on LNG" could result in the sector ending up with a high-carbon infrastructure.

The report identified biofuel as having the highest CO2 emissions reduction potential in comparison with a list of other measures, but concluded that "no single measure is sufficient by itself to reach considerable sector-wide reductions".

Another well-documented issue with LNG is the leakage of methane - also known as 'methane slip' - from the engine, which is a potent GHG that could pose additional difficulties. The former CEO of the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA), Ian Adams, argued last year that switching to LNG would only require a small slip through the supply chain to equal the CO2 emissions from the industry's current consumption of heavy fuel oil.

Bell remarked in this week's blog that even though the maritime industry has been able to successfully transport natural gas around the world for more than 50 years, the idea of using it as a fuel for shipping is "another matter entirely", alluding to the challenges that look set to lie ahead.

Established to promote safety and industry best practice in the use of gas as a marine fuel, SGMF is governed by a representative board and has several working groups at any one time to solve issues and produce outputs such as guidelines and checklists for the industry. The NGO has produced four ISBN publications in the past two years alone and now has over 120 international members ranging from oil majors, port authorities, fuel suppliers through to equipment manufacturers and classification societies.

Earlier this year, SGMF agreed to collaborate with Australia's LNG Marine Fuel Institute (LMFI) in a tie-up that will see SGMF support LMFI to promote the use of gas as bunkers in Australasia, while SGMF will be promoting the Australian model to other regions.

As previously reported by Bunker Index, LMFI CEO Captain Walter Purio sees renewables as "the end game" for sustainable green energy, and LNG as a "transitional fuel" for shipping.

In terms of the biggest challenges for ship owners to convert to LNG, Purio said in May that he thinks the biggest difficulty will be to efficiently schedule and complete every vessel docking for conversion to LNG as quickly as possible so as to ensure that ships are out of service for as little time as possible.

Purio also believes compliance methods such as scrubbers, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) will be put into the "'too hard' basket", given the international nature of the shipping business.

Related Links:

Study warns against 'one-sided focus on LNG' as biofuel tops CO2 reduction chart
Strict regs will put short-term compliance methods into the 'too hard' basket: Purio
CO2 reduction addressed at ECSA seminar
EMSA launches online system for reporting CO2 emissions and bunker consumption
ECSA hails 'important progress' on CO2 reduction at MEPC 71
United Kingdom

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