Expert considers methanol to be more environmentally friendly marine fuel than LNG
The use of alternative fuels in marine industry is determined and actually forced by international and national constraints, Gennady Yegorov, General Director of Marine Engineering Bureau, said at the 4th “LNG Fleet, LNG Bunkering and Alternatives” conference organized by IAA PortNews.
“The fight with NOx and SOx has been lasting from 2005. Compliance with NOx standards is possible through improvement of equipment, marine diesel engines (Tier I, Tier II) and through the use of catalyst agents (Tier III) while compliance with SOx standards – first through reduction of sulphur content in conventional fuel and from 1 January 2020 though installation of scrubbers or using low-sulphur fuel and other types of fuel like LNG and methanol with almost zero emissions of NOx. In 2011, new phase of CO2 fight began through application of an efficiency coefficient (CO2 emitted per deadweight tonne-nautical mile). This instrument even raised the interest to alternative fuels and to optimization of hull shape”, said the expert.
“However, the irony is that all requirements are about using fuel while all types of fuel should be produced somehow. Hazardous substances including GHG are emitted during the production process as well”, emphasized the speaker.
According to him, synthesizing of alternative fuels is quite energy intense. For example, the research of Е.А. Mirenkova (Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engines Institute, 2019) showed that energy consumption throughout the entire life cycle in case of using LNG (by duel-fuel diesel engines, not gas and diesel) or methanol are 32% higher than in case of using diesel fuel.
Meanwhile, reduction of CO2 emissions in case of using LNG is 4-6% less versus using diesel fuel, that of methanol – 11% less.
Besides, Gennady Yegorov emphasized that CO2 is not the only GHG. Methane, is even more harmful for the ozone layer and considerable amount of it is emitted from engines running on LNG. The equivalent GHG emissions throughout a life cycle is 12% less in case of using methanol and by 4% less in case of using LNG as compared with diesel fuel.
“However, emissions throughout a life cycle of fuel including its production are not considered by IMO and have no impact on selection of marine fuel although methanol looks more environmentally friendly than LNG in this respect”, said Gennady Yegorov.