Update: Jan de Nul Laud "Fuel Oil and Exhaust Gas Treatment" Combination Over LNG Bunkers

Thursday March 16, 2017

This article has been updated from the original to clarify that, upon advice from Jan de Nul subsequent to their original press release, Jan de Nul's use of the term "fuel oil" is intended to refer to low sulfur distillate fuel only and not heavy fuel oil; references to exhaust gas cleaning is intended to refer only to Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and Diesel Particle Filter (DPF) systems.

Jan De Nul Group (Jan De Nul) Wednesday suggested the use of traditional oil-based bunkers in combination with exhaust gas cleaning could have fewer environmental and operational downsides than the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as marine fuel.

"LNG is being promoted as an environmental-friendly fuel. It has a number of advantages: for the same power less greenhouse gas CO2 is emitted, and emissions of some contaminants such as NOx, SOx, Particulate Matter are lower compared to a diesel engine on fuel oil, without exhaust gas treatment system," says Jan De Nul.

"However, the same or even better results are achieved by using exhaust gas treatment, and the important environmental and operational downsides of LNG are avoided."

Jan De Nul says methane leakages, which can occur during production, transport, and bunkering, as well as methane slip in dual fuel engines, are significant still not being considered under actual IMO regulation.

"Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas: over a 100 year period, the effect of methane on global warming is 34 times higher than the same amount of CO2. As a result, most studies conclude that with current technology, LNG as a fuel is not better, and in most cases worse than fuel oil with respect to global warming," says Jan De Nul.

Jan De Nul also cites the poor availability of LNG, as well as space and cost restrictions, as further reason why the company has gravitated to the use of traditional oil bunkers in combination with exhaust gas treatment.

The comments came as part of an announcement that the company has ordered three 3,500 m3 Trailing Suction Hopper Dredgers. Jan de Nul has told Ship & Bunker that the vessels will operate on low sulfur distillate fuel and be equipped with exhaust gas treatment systems, including a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system, and a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF).

"Thanks to the low fuel oil consumption emissions are lowered, but in addition the vessels are equipped with exhaust gas treatment systems in order to further reduce harmful emissions," explains Jan De Nul.

"Combined with the use of readily available low sulphur fuels, the emissions (NOx, SOx, Particulate Matter, CO and Hydrocarbons) will comply with EU Stage V, and be better than any other vessel or dredger. They will be equivalent or better than these of a dredger using LNG as fuel."

This is not the first time LNG's environmental credentials have been brought into question. In November, industry veteran Ian Adams said LNG bunkers are not a solution for reducing shipping's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and could actually be worse for the environment than burning HFO.

Marit Holmlund-Sund, Senior Manager for Marketing and Communications at Wärtsilä Corporation's (Wärtsilä's) Marine Solutions quickly fired back, suggesting that, under normal operating conditions, GHG emissions of vessels using LNG propulsion, as calculated in CO2 equivalents, have been shown to be 5-10 percent lower than those operating on HFO.