Brazilian Scientists Undertake Feasibility Study on LNG Bunkers

Brazilian Scientists Undertake Feasibility Study on LNG Bunkers

Supported by São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), BG Group-Shell, and other various institutions, a feasibility study on liquefied natural gas (LNG) as marine fuel has been undertaken in Brazil by a group of scientists at the Research Center for Gas Innovation (RCGI), Science and Technology Research News reports.

“We’ll start by building a roadmap to evaluate the feasibility of using [natural gas] as a marine fuel in Brazil,” said Claudio Muller Prado Sampaio, a project coordinator and professor at the University of São Paulo’s Engineering School (POLI-USP).

“This roadmap will take into account a range of factors, such as technology, economics and environmental management.”

As Ship & Bunker has previously reported, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) last week agreed that a 0.5 percent global sulfur cap on marine fuel will be implemented from 2020, and Sampaio says the push toward low sulfur fuel within the shipping industry has made LNG more competitive.

Large-scale U.S. shale gas production has also led to growth in the global supply and decrease in price of LNG, he adds.

“We plan to develop LNG-powered ships designed to operate under Brazilian conditions, including the need for smaller drafts and different dynamic positioning systems for automated heading and position control while loading or unloading, even in heavier seas and winds,” said Sampaio.

The group of researchers are also reported to be working to evaluate the availability of LNG from Brazilian reserves in combination with predicted supply and demand for LNG bunkers in the future.

“The amount of gas currently being injected into the subsalt oilfields is equivalent to a third of the total consumption in Brazil,” said Julio Meneghini, academic director of RCGI, adding: “Brazil could stop importing NG from Bolivia and replace it with subsalt gas, if only we could solve issues such as purification, CO2 removal and distribution logistics.”

While many in the industry have been positive on the use of LNG bunkers, especially for their ability to reduce emissions of SOx and NOx, industry veteran Ian Adams yesterday issued a warning that LNG bunkers should not be seen as a solution for reducing shipping’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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