In a world-first for the maritime sector, the containership, ‘ElbBLUE’ – owned by German shipowner Elbdeich Reederei and operated by charterer Unifeeder – has bunkered some 20 tons of green SNG (Synthetic Natural Gas) at the Elbe port in Brunsbüttel, Germany. MAN Energy Solutions held a ceremony to mark the event, which marks the first time ever that synthetic fuel – generated from 100% renewable energy via power-to-X technology – has been employed in commercial shipping. Dual-fuel operation Formerly known as the ‘Wes Amelie’, the 1,036-teu feeder container ship previously made headlines in 2017 when its MAN 8L48/60B main engine was retrofitted to its current, four-stroke MAN 51/60DF unit to enable dual-fuel operation. The first such conversion of its type globally, it showed that existing engines could be converted to LNG operation with a tremendous effect on exhaust emissions and the environment. MAN Energy Solutions praised the roles that the various partners involved in the project played The ElbBLUE sails in the North and Baltic Seas. Speaking at the event, Wayne Jones OBE, Chief Sales Officer, MAN Energy Solutions praised the roles that the various partners involved in the project played – including Unifeeder, Liquind and Wessels Marine – and commended them on their determination to drive green shipping. Eliminating future emissions He further said: “This is an important lighthouse project, essentially a proof of concept for the maritime energy transition. At MAN Energy Solutions, we strongly believe in the synthetic-fuels roadmap but joint efforts across the industry are needed to make it happen. The fact is that the respective governments need to establish a framework to make synthetic fuels readily available, while power-to-X needs to be developed on an industrial scale in order to bring down costs and make truly sustainable fuels a reality.” Stefan Eefting – Senior Vice President and Head of MAN PrimeServ, Augsburg –said: “This is a crucial step on the road to decarbonising shipping and, in Elbdeich, we have the perfect partner. In reducing or even eliminating future emissions generated by the global supply-chain, synthetic fuels and engine retrofits have a crucial role to play. 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.” Taking appropriate measures The ElbBLUE is now set to continue its journey under the supervision of engineers from MAN PrimeServ The liquefied SNG was produced in a power-to-gas facility in Werlte, Germany, owned by kiwi AG. It is generated using 100% renewable energy. The ElbBLUE is now set to continue its journey under the supervision of engineers from MAN PrimeServ, MAN Energy Solutions’ after-sales division. As a result, the vessel’s direct CO2 emissions are expected to decline by 56 tons for this coming trip. Jens Moje, Managing Director Elbdeich, said: “Elbdeich’s philosophy is that the key to a successful shipping company is its ability to detect emerging, economic developments and trends – and to react flexibly by taking the appropriate measures. We view decarbonisation of the shipping industry as inevitable – and very welcome – and are delighted to play a pioneering role in its advancement.” Expecting innovative solutions Timm Niebergall, Shortsea Director Unifeeder, said: “This is a great technology showcase and we are excited to be part of this. From the perspective of a charterer and as a leading operator of Feeder & Shortsea services in Europe and around the globe, we think that the future availability of green(er) fuels will be essential. Our customers in Europe and beyond are expecting innovative solutions for improving our, and thereby also their, carbon footprint – green SNG is an interesting product and we are therefore very proud to be the first Feeder & Shortsea operator testing this new fuel on one of our vessels.” The liquefaction unit taken into operation in 2021 was specially designed for the liquefaction of SNG" Hermann Pengg-Buehrlen, CEO of kiwi AG, said: “Our e-gas facility was the world’s first multi-megawatt installation to generate synthetic natural gas from CO2 and renewable electricity. The liquefaction unit taken into operation in 2021 was specially designed for the liquefaction of SNG. We are very proud to deliver the world´s first SNG in the shipping industry to MAN and Elbdeich.” Maritime energy transition MAN Energy Solutions believes that it is time for what it calls a ‘Maritime Energy Transition’ to find clean, decarbonised solutions for seaborne trade and transportation. Essentially, it is the company’s call to action to reduce emissions and establish zero-carbon fuels as the fuels of choice in global shipping. It strongly promotes a common approach by the shipping industry and politics to invest in infrastructure development and retrofits. Power-to-X is a number of electricity conversion, energy storage, and reconversion pathways that use surplus electric power, typically during periods where fluctuating, renewable-energy generation exceeds load. Power-to-X conversion technologies allow for the decoupling of power from the electricity sector for use in other sectors.
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.