More tugboat newbuildings will be fuelled by LNG and/or hybrid propulsion in the future to reduce emissions. But there needs to be more economic incentives to build fleets of green tugs and ultimately, LNG could be a stepping-stone to developing non-carbon based fuels in the future.
These were some of the forecasts Bureau Veritas marine marketing and sales director Gijsbert de Jong made at a presentation in London on 22 January. He said there had been increasing numbers of orders at shipyards for gas-fuelled vessels and investment in LNG bunkering infrastructure.
This would encourage more owners to consider LNG for future projects. Mr de Jong also described increased interest in hybrid propulsion on vessels, highlighting projects involving tugs and offshore windfarm support vessels as examples.
Bureau Veritas’ newly appointed executive vice president for maritime and offshore Matthieu de Tugny said there would be more LNG ships and bunkering vessels built in the future. He described a new LNG bunkering vessel being constructed for Mitsui OSK and Total in China as an example. This vessel will provide LNG bunkering from Zeebrugge, Belgium from 2020.
Mr de Jong highlighted three LNG-fuelled escort tugs Bureau Veritas classed for operations at Equinor’s LNG production plant and export terminal in northern Norway in 2017 as examples of tug projects for the future.
He also outlined a joint industry project Bureau Veritas was involved in to design a green tug with fuel cells and batteries. This 32-m tug was designed for harbour operations and with around 60 tonnes of bollard pull. However, it was not built for a customer because there was no economically viable case for it, said Mr de Jong.
LNG is seen as a step towards developing hydrogen and ammonia-based fuels for the future of shipping and tugs. Mr de Jong said there would be “multiple pathways” for reducing carbon emissions from shipping and harbour operations.
“We need to consider different propulsion, such as fuel cells, hydrogen, ammonia and biofuels,” he said. “We are doing pilot projects to get a regulatory framework ready for these developments.”
These developments are for newbuilding projects beyond 2025, so for the time being LNG and hybrid propulsion are the best methods of reducing emissions, both Mr de Jong and Mr de Tugny concluded.