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.
Carbon-neutral liquefied SNG
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 that requires 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.
Actual Emission Tracker
The trial comes as Unifeeder has recently launched their Actual Emission Tracker
The trial comes as Unifeeder has recently launched their Actual Emission Tracker, a tool that allows users to calculate greenhouse gas emissions, at the specific TEU level. The Actual Emission Tracker gives companies further insight into the carbon impact of their activity, assisting with the measurement tools that are required to track and reduce carbon emissions.
With a blend of 20 tons SNG and 20 tons conventional LNG, the ‘ElbBlue’ vessel is expected to save approximately 56 tons of carbon output, on its coming voyage to St. Petersburg, as opposed to operating on 100% LNG fuel.
Unifeeder Group vessels
With the largest feeder and short sea network globally, Unifeeder Group vessels operate across Europe, the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, and Southeast Asia.
In 2017, the ElbBlue vessel, then named Wes Amelie, was retrofitted as a dual-fuel engine, made by MAN Energy Solutions, to be able to operate on LNG.
Retrofitted engine installed on ElbBlue vessel
MAN Energy Solutions report that the retrofitted engine reduces SOx emissions by >99%, NOx by approximately 90% and CO2 emissions 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, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at MAN Energy Solutions.
Renewable SNG and dual-fuel engines
Should the trial be successful, it is hoped that renewable SNG and dual-fuel engines can be used to reduce the global shipping industry’s carbon output.
A successful trial voyage will complement our environmental initiatives across Europe"
Jesper Kristensen, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unifeeder and Chief Operations Officer (COO) of DP World Marine Services (DP World), said “The launch of Unifeeder’s SNG trial, in conjunction with our project partners, is a thrilling and timely development for our business, as our industry continues to seek ways to reduce carbon output, to meet customer, business, and environmental policy demands.”
Jesper adds, “A successful trial voyage will complement our environmental initiatives across Europe, such as our investment in more efficient rail and barge inland services, as well as our ongoing sustainability ambitions, at our terminals across Europe. And, with the launch of the Actual Emission Tracker, by Unifeeder, we are seeking to provide our customers, with the tools and options that help them to measure output, and make lower carbon supply chain choices.”
New fuel technology aimed at carbon footprint reduction
Timm Niebergall, the Short-sea Director of Unifeeder, said “This is a great opportunity to showcase new fuel technology and we are proud to be at the forefront of this exciting development. As the leading operator of feeder and short-sea services in Europe and around the globe, the future availability of green(er) fuels is essential.”
Timm adds, “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.”
Synthetic fuels like SNG play key role in net-zero CO2 emissions
Stefan Eefting, the Senior Vice President and Head of MAN PrimeServ (MAN Energy Solutions), Augsburg said, “This is a crucial step on the road to decarbonising 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 adds, “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.”
Unifeeder, MAN Energy Solutions, and vessel owner, Elbdeich Reederei (USC Barnkrug GmbH & Co KG) have partnered on the trial over the last two years, with all firms involved aiming to further advance carbon reduction efforts in the maritime shipping sector.