No less than 14 leading marine industry players have formed a coalition in order to accelerate the widespread adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a viable and regular marine fuel.

The SEA/LNG alliance aims to break down the barriers hindering the global development of LNG in marine applications and ultimately seeks to improve the environmental performance of the shipping industry.

The cooperation will focus on supporting the development of LNG bunkering in major ports and will seek to educate those within the sector about both the risks and opportunities in using LNG as a standard marine fuel.

SEA/LNG also aims to develop globally consistent regulations for cleaner shipping fuel options.

By working together, we plan to overcome the challenges and speed the general acceptance of LNG

The association comprises of Wärtsilä Corporation, ENN Group, GE Marine and Qatargas, amongst others, with each member organisation pledging equal human resources, data analysis and knowledge to support SEA/LNG initiatives and activities.

Timo Koponen, Vice-President, Flow & Gas Solutions at Wärtsilä Marine Solutions, highlighted, “This is a strong coalition combining the expertise of major fleet owners, classification societies, port facilities, and energy experts. By working together, we plan to overcome the challenges and speed the general acceptance of LNG.”

“Having been a pioneer in the use of LNG as a marine fuel, and a developer of major technologies facilitating the adoption of LNG fuel, it is natural that Wärtsilä supports wholeheartedly the aims of the SEA/LNG coalition.”

The infographic (below) from the Finland-based marine and energy solution manufacturer demonstrates the LNG production, storage and distribution infrastructure chain.

Lng value chain

Wärtsilä LNG Value Chain

Making the switch

First established at the beginning of 2005, Emission Control Areas (ECAs) in specialised sea zones have been gradually constricting emission limits of airborne emissions such as sulfur oxides (SOx) in the maritime sector.

From 1st January 2015 the four established Sulfur Emission Control Areas (ECAs) established under MARPOL protocol Annex VI – the Baltic Sea area, North Sea area, North American area and the US Caribbean Sea area – restricted ships trading in these zones to use fuel on-board with a sulfur content of no more than 0.10%.

As a result, an increased number of ships have now switched to LNG as a marine fuel with some areas in Europe seeing reductions of almost 60% in sulfur emissions since these regulations were tightened.

The formation of the SEA/LNG organisation aims to build upon this rapidly advancing craze and promote the use of LNG in the maritime industry.