Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/578020
57 Fall 2015 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings Gas as a marine fuel has a future, and will assume a signif- cant proportion of the increasing number of marine fuels that are becoming more available to the ship operator. Gone are the days where one fuel fts all, and it is clearly no longer acceptable for the global maritime feet to be the convenient end user of what is left at the bottom of a barrel of oil. This is neither sustainable nor acceptable in a world with ever- growing environmental concerns. It is also fair to say that the shipping industry itself is con- servative and perhaps slow to change, and rightly so. It has been around for a long time, and although ships themselves have become more effcient, an overnight switch to alterna- tive fuels was never in the cards. The rate of progress is improving, however — it took a long time to evolve from oars to sail, less time from coal and steam to oil and diesel. It won't be so long for the switch to gas and other alternatives, but at the same time, gas will not suit every application. It is the last natural hydrocarbon fuel available to us, though, and if used correctly, will even reduce CO 2 emissions. 1 So far in this industry, Europe has been driven by subsidy, North Amer- ica by price and availability. Asia has a mix of both, perhaps, but geogra- phy also plays a large part and will certainly continue to do so. Put your- self in the position of the owner or operator deciding on your next asset in shipping. You are there to make a proft, and however you look at it, your fuel bill is going to be in the region of 35 to maybe 65 percent of your operating costs. There are per- haps 10 major factors that are going to change, sometimes quickly and unpredictably — all or any of which will affect your project directly. This gives some idea as to why the industry appears somewhat slow to embrace gas as a marine fuel. Additionally, as land- based industries have been quick to switch and continue to dominate the global use of gas as a fuel, the ship fuel market has competition for gas and is a relatively small newcomer to the scene. The Outlook Toward the end of 2014, changes in the near-term outlook for gas in the marine market have had an adverse effect on new gas-fueled marine sector projects. However, the longer-term outlook remains favorable, as gas is seen as a fuel that can meet all the upcoming regulatory changes. Further, the dramatic reduction in crude prices since August 2014, with relatively little change in liquefed natural gas (LNG) prices, has tilted the balance in favor of scrubbers, particularly for retrofts. Scrubbing the exhaust gas means literally washing out the sulphurous oxides by forcing the hot exhaust gas through a falling curtain of water. Scrub- bers typically ft around the funnel, so space and weight A Sea Change A bright future for gas-fueled shipping. by Mr. MArk bEll General Manager The Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel Liquefed Gas Production, Transportation, and Use An LNG-powered ship. Photo courtesy of Scott Pittman Photography.