Posidonia 2016: maritime energy evolving to meet future requirements

posidonia2016

1.850 exhibitors among propulsion system makers and classification societies gathered in Athens last week for Posidonia 2016. Theme of the event, the evolution of maritime propulsion in order to meet the energy requirements determined by the ongoing and future changes in navigation.
“Global tonnage is predicted to double by 2030 due to growing middle class populations in India and China,” said Nick Brown, Marine Director, Lloyd’s Register Marine. “Our studies suggest that while heavy fuel oil will continue to be the most popular in terms of usage by the shipping industry there will be an increase in the diversity of the fuel mix with LNG predicted to account for up to 11 percent of deep sea shipping fuel. Two more drivers leading to the advent of alternative fuels can be classified in two broad categories: Regulatory requirements and environmental concerns, and availability of fossil fuels, cost and energy security. We are working with designers, owners and equipment manufacturers to ensure their specific projects are considering all different alternatives including LNG as a viable alternative for localized trading in regional seas such as the Baltic Sea or the Mediterranean”.
Engine manufacturers participating at Posidonia 2016 confirmed that the demand for engines propelled by alternative fuel is rising.
Michael Jeppesen, Mechanical Engineer at MAN Diesel & Turbo, outlined that gas fuels are slowly emerging among all alternatives: “The infrastructure has significantly improved, the network of bunkering stations worldwide is fast increasing and oil companies are finally seeing the viability of the alternative fuels market for the shipping industry. These positive developments have led to an increased interest from ship owners who are becoming more receptive to the idea of alternative fuel as the main energy source for their fleets. We currently have 150 alternative fuel engine orders in our portfolio for two stroke engines and this is mainly from Greek ship owners for deep sea LNG carriers. While two thirds of these orders are for LNG carriers the rest account for container vessels. We have also developed the design concept for other fuel types such as methanol, LPG and ethane and we are already working to deliver nine methanol engines and five more for ethane. Ten per cent of our total order portfolio comprises non conventional fuel orders.” There are currently about 500 LNG-fuelled ships using their own cargo to meet their energy needs and a few tens of others specially converted to use this type of fuel for propulsion purposes. But if infrastructure development continues unabated, in the next ten years it is estimated that we will have a 50-50 split between conventional and new fuels, mainly LNG and LPG, according to Jeppesen.
Dyonisios Antonopoulos from Wartsila, Marine Solutions, so commented the use of LNG: “LNG is a more environmentally friendly fuel and with the revolution of shale gas it appears that it will also be a cost efficient alternative versus the conventional heavy oil fuels. Wartsila was involved in the development of dual fuel engines early on and we believe that the additional capex required for LNG tanks will be easily offset by the attractive LNG prices. We have 1.500 dual fuel engines with more than 16m accumulated running hours across all segments including LNG carriers, merchant and offshore and this is likely to grow. We are particularly optimistic about the LNG use in the cruise industry which has significantly upped its investment in this segment of new buildings.”
Theodosis Stamatelos, from Lloyd’s Register agreed on the relevance of costs and prices in changing to alternative fuels: “The two key drivers that will convince owners to convert to alternative fuels or order ready new buildings is regulation and the commercial fuel split with the latter being on everybody’s lips in terms of what will be the difference in price between low sulphur heavy oil versus LNG. With the shale oil phenomenon we are seeing an increasing decoupling between the price of oil and the price of gas. Once the differential becomes clearer then we will see more projects start.”
The transition to LNG is already happening.

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