A technical showcase in which the 2017-retrofitted ‘Wes Amelie’, a 1,036-TEU feeder container ship, will use liquefied SNG (Synthetic Natural Gas) produced from renewable electrical energy as a drop-in fuel is announced by the MAN Energy Solutions and Wessels Marine GmbH.
For the Wes Amelie project, the companies are cooperating with Nauticor which is LNG transportation company, and Unifeeder, the charter company.
To showcase that SNG can be used as a shipping fuel, 20 of the 120 tons of LNG which is used by Wes Amelie usually in each round trip will be replaced by climate-neutral SNG. Due to this the emission of CO2 is estimated to reduce by 56 tons for this trip.
The SNG will be provided by the automobile manufacturer Audi’s Power-to-Gas facility in Werlte, in which a liquefaction plant is presently under construction. This will be generated using wind energy and is thereby completely climate neutral. After the liquefaction plant is complete in Q2 2020, the SNG trip will take place.
Stefan Eefting – Head of MAN PrimeServ in Augsburg – said: “This is another important milestone and proof of concept for the Maritime Energy Transition, the initiative we have been driving since 2016. We strongly believe that a roadmap based on LNG and SNG as fuels can lead the way to a decarbonised future for shipping and, in Wessels Marine, we have the perfect partner.”
“The Wes Amelie project has always been about demonstrating the technologically doable while pointing out the regulatory actions necessary to make it possible,” said Christian Hoepfner, Managing Owner of Wessels Marine, Hamburg. “The initial retrofit to LNG took support from the German Government to be financially viable, but it was a huge success for the environment in that it drastically reduced emissions. As a consequence, there now is a retrofit programme in place to make more retrofits happen.”
He continued: “In another world-first, we will now demonstrate that SNG can successfully be used to reduce harmful emissions even further as the fuel is climate-neutral. However the costs are still way too high. Going forward, governments and regulators will have to work together to make this a viable and available option for ship owners.”
Stefan Eefting added: “To bring down future emissions generated in the global-trade supply chain, synthetic fuels play a crucial role. Especially in shipping, the use of batteries alone is not a viable option and any successful decarbonisation efforts need to address the fuel. Power-to-X technology allows the generation of 100% climate-neutral natural gas from renewable energy. This technology has tremedous potential and needs to be freed from regulatory burdens and to be developed on an industrial scale to bring down costs.”
A pioneer of this technology, MAN Energy Solutions commissioned the Werlte-based methanation plant, in partnership with Audi, in 2013. While the 6 MW methanation unit is still the largest of its kind in Europe today, MAN now offers a 50 MW EPC Power-to-X solution to ramp up the generation of synthetic fuel: “We need Power-to-X out of the labs and into the market in order to produce more competitive, renewable fuels by using scaling effects”, concluded Eefting.