An idea of liquefied natural gas (LNG) came up, when Fjord Line, a Norwegian shipping company, was planning to order new ships in 2009. At the same time, the International Maritime Organization, IMO, and the European Union had decided to tighten the emissions criteria of the maritime transport.
As a result, MS Stavangerfjord, the world's first and largest cruise ferry with single LNG engines, began operating in the summer of 2013. Her sister ship, MS Bergensfjord made a maiden voyage in March 2014. There has been no need to regret the strategic choice of the clean energy.
"LNG brings us significant environmental benefits. In addition, some ports give us discounts, for instance,” says Morten Larsen, technical and maritime director of Fjord Line.
LNG enables a significant reduction in emissions
LNG has a significant potential to reduce the harmful emissions: the sulfur and particulate emissions of MS Stavangerfjord and MS Bergensfjord are zero. Additionally, the emissions of nitrogen oxides are reduced by 92 per cent lower compared to the traditional heavy fuel oil. At the same time, the emissions of CO2 are lowered approximately by a fifth.
"Along the LNG the working environment in the engine room is also cleaner. In addition, the use of cleaning chemicals has fallen by 80 per cent," says Larsen.
Fjord Line’s exclusively LNG-powered cruise ferries operate all year round daily from the cities of Norway – Bergen, Stavanger and Langesund – to Hirtshals, a town in the northern tip of Denmark. The 170 meter long vessels can accommodate some 1 500 passengers, 600 cars and cargo.
Fjord Line consumes about 32 000 tons of LNG per year. MS Stavangerfjord and MS Bergensfjord are fueled in Skangas’ new bunkering station in Risavika, Norway. The station is equipped by a special loading arm, which significantly speeds up the refueling process.
Focus on infrastructure
Although the price of oil has fallen, LNG is still a competitive alternative fuel, says Larsen. In the future, the liquefied biogas (LBG) provides a new opportunity to move on towards a fully renewable energy, since the LBG is suitable for LNG engines.
However, in order to enhance the competitiveness and flexibility of LNG, the focus should be on the development of the infrastructure.
"The future of LNG looks good. However, it is important that the decision-makers continue to support the construction of the LNG infrastructure," Larsen says.