Not Green, but Gray: Shedding Light on Alternative Fuels

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Steve Esau, COO of SEA-LNG, discusses the challenge of increasing the availability of low and zero-emission fuels in the shipping industry. While the long-term goal is clear, the industry must deal with the reality of scarce green resources in the medium term. Alternative marine fuels such as LNG, bio-LNG, methanol, and ammonia follow the same general path to decarbonization. The industry must work to identify and use the correct fuel, whether it is gray or green, and whether it is biogenic or electric. It is crucial to understand the different emissions profiles, availability, and costs of these fuels before making decisions.

There is a significant challenge in making scarce green resources available for the shipping industry to achieve emissions reductions. Green methanol and biomethane, used to produce bio-LNG, are currently in limited supply, potentially leading to delays in decarbonization for the shipping industry. The industry must also consider the impact of different decarbonization pathways on the environment and economy, while also focusing on the long-term goal of ensuring enough renewable hydrogen for the production of electric fuels.

In terms of availability and infrastructure, LNG is currently the most widely available alternative marine fuel, though bio-LNG is also becoming increasingly available in ports. The industry needs to carefully consider the scarcity of biofuels and biogases and direct them towards the sectors most vulnerable to decarbonization. Additionally, there is a need to focus on the development of infrastructure for the production and distribution of low and zero-emission fuels.

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