Conoship International has a bone to pick with the World Bank. When it comes to using LNG as a marine fuel, the Netherlands-based naval architectural and engineering firm thinks the World Bank got it all wrong
Known for its innovative designs – some 2,000 ships have been built to its drawings – the Dutch design house said in a press release the World Bank report criticising the use of LNG as a marine fuel in shipping’s decarbonisation missed an important recent technical development: ship-based carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems. Below is Conoship’s response to the World Bank report.
Contrary to the World Bank point of view, there is a bright future for LNG in the decarbonisation of the shipping industry. The World Bank report missed an important recent technical development: marine carbon capture systems.
Recently, great progress has been achieved regarding capturing CO2 from the exhaust of LNG-fuelled ships.
Among others, R&D in the Netherlands – by Conoship, TNO Delft and other partners – leads to feasible and practical ship-based solutions, utilising ‘the cold’ of the LNG (-160°C) to liquefy the CO2 and store it in regular liquid-CO2-tank containers on board. The captured CO2 can be unloaded while bunkering LNG, to be stored offshore in empty gas fields for example, for which infrastructure is under development in Norway (Northern Lights), Rotterdam (Porthos), Amsterdam (Athos) and by parties like CarbonCollectors.
As the captured and liquefied CO2 can be ‘food-grade’, wider utilisation is foreseen in the future as an important and valuable feedstock for the production of synthetic fuels, such as synthetic-kerosine, -diesel, -methanol or -methane. Next to ‘green hydrogen’, the production of synthetic fuels requires vast amounts of CO2, for which ‘direct air capture’ is a very inefficient source.
The same ships fuelled by LNG (about 85% methane CH4), can be fuelled in the future by liquified synthetic-methane (LSM, 100% CH4), using the same existing LNG-infrastructure. A closed carbon-loop can be realised by capturing the CO2 after the combustion of LSM in the ship, liquefying it and providing it as feedstock to the producer of the LSM.
Conoship R&D and design studies show that by applying onboard CO2-capturing, liquefaction and storage, LNG-driven ships can both be a good direct economic and ecological alternative to diesel-driven ships realising large reductions of SOx, NOx and PM/soot and smaller reductions of CO2; and a good future-proof economic and ecological solution, increasing the reduction of CO2-emissions (possibly stepwise) to the desired economical and ecological level by applying a CO2-capturing installation.
By integrating the CO2-capturing installation in the initial ship design at Conoship, we reduce the future impact of the modification. However, CCS installations are also suitable for retrofits on board of LNG-powered vessels.
Further, R&D on handling the challenge of methane slip is making good progress, both in combustion technology in engines and in after-treatment technology and there is no reason why applying the solutions should be limited to a fraction of the fleet. Furthermore, despite all developments, the quantity of ’green hydrogen’, either to be used directly as fuel, or as feedstock for e-fuels, will remain limited. It would make sense to use this scarce quantity for applications for which there are no alternatives, such as in long-range aviation.
Introduction, through IMO, of a carbon-levy per tonne emitted CO2 will facilitate the economical application of CO2-capturing installations on LNG-driven vessels in the coming years. LNG, when combined with CCS, should therefore still be considered as a more than valuable transition fuel up to 2050, reducing the carbon footprint of shipping and its customers with more than 75% compared with today’s diesel-powered operations.
Want to know more about developments in ship-based carbon capture and storage? Visit and search Riviera Maritime Media’s webinar library to hear experts discuss current progress on CCS for ships, as well as other technology developments underpinning decarbonisation in shipping