“LPG Bunkering – Guide for LPG Marine Fuel Supply”
The WLPGA continues its commitment to cleaner environment with a new report “LPG Bunkering – Guide for LPG Marine Fuel Supply”, dedicated to the use of LPG in the marine sector, particularly bunkering. Rising concerns on the environmental impact of traditional fuels, such as HFO, are leading shipping companies to switch to alternative fueling options and solutions. The search for sustainable alternatives to traditional fuels has increased in recent years in light of IMO 2020 and the strategy of the International Maritime Organization to cut the shipping sector’s overall carbon emissions by 50% by 2020.
LPG is a key enabler for IMO 2050 and as fuel it addresses IMO sulphur regulation forever. The new report, released during the World LPG Forum in Amsterdam in September 2019, aims to improve understanding within the maritime industry, of issues related to bunkering ships with LPG. The report highlights that LPG is becoming the preferred fueling solution for LPG carriers. Other key areas addressed are design issues, current thinking on possible solutions to regulations requirements, safeguards and safe practices, as well as important areas of operational processes and training.
With the marine industry under pressure to take measures to reduce emissions to comply with IMO 2020, LPG can make significant inroads into the marine fuel market. LPG propulsion, starting with the LPG carrier sector, needs to move beyond a niche fuel option, to gain acceptance in the wider shipping sector that it greatly deserves. Infrastructure for distribution and bunkering is largely available to serve potential marine market demand (vs other alternative fuels for which infrastructure still needs to be developed), and engine technology has been developed for a wide range of power outputs, requiring lower capex compared to other alternatives.
LPG, although new as a marine propulsion fuel, is a fuel that the marine shipping sector knows well through its more than 50 years storage, transport and handling experience. In the near future, economic incentives will attract more ship owners and operators to invest in LPG fueled fleets. When the IMO 2020 sulphur cap takes effect, the price of compliant fuel and availability of HFO for scrubber-fitted ships will be uncertain. LPG engine technology is now readily available and using dual fuel engines allows also operators during the trip, depending on price, to use LPG or compliant fuel, whichever is more economical. The report demonstrates that infrastructure for LPG is already in place for bunkering with LPG anywhere in the world. Supplies are also abundant, especially due to increased production coming from the US. LPG bunkering can take place in various ways, from terminals, refineries, on-shore trucks, smaller LPG carriers or barges. There are more than 1,000 LPG storage facilities around the world that can be used for LPG bunkering, and more than 700 small size LPG carriers, that can be used for ship-to-ship bunkering.