The European Union will donate almost €10 million (about $14 million) to support a study to analyze the possibilities of switching to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) propulsion in the shipping industry in order to improve the environmental performance of the sector. The grant, which comes from the 2010 TEN-T Multi-Annual Call, will be used to draft a feasibility study to create a network of LNG filling stations for ships, coupled with a pilot to convert two vessels to LNG propulsion.
The study, which fully complies fully with the EU’s strategy for the Baltic Sea region and contributes to the realization of TEN-T Priority Project 21 (Motorways of the Sea), extends from the Baltic Sea to the North Sea and the English Channel. It aims at creating a strategic decision paper relevant for central stakeholders to develop framework conditions for the use of LNG for ships. The pilot, on the other hand, will see the modification of two vessels to a LNG propulsion system, a more environmentally friendly system, in line with the recent requirements of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for Northern Europe.
The pilot action will be followed by an extensive measurement program for validating its environmental and climate benefits. LNG contains no sulphur and emits 90% less NOx than traditional fuels and CO2 can be reduced by up to 25%.
The lessons learnt from the project are foreseen to have a wider benefit for other geographical areas within the EU, demonstrating that LNG propulsion is a viable fuel solution for large vessels.