World’s 1st SNG-Powered Ship Starts its Carbon-Neutral Voyage

The first ship in the world to operate on synthetic natural gas (SNG), ElbBlue, has started its trial voyage after being fueled with liquefied SNG.


The occasion marks the first time ever that synthetic fuel – generated from 100% renewable energy via power-to-X technology – has been employed in commercial shipping.

Owned by shipowner Elbdeich Reederei and operated by charterer Unifeeder, ElbBlue officially bunkered some 20 tons of green SNG in Brunsbüttel in northern Germany.


The liquefied SNG is a synthetic form of LNG that is carbon-neutral and generated from 100% renewable energy. The fuel was produced at Kiwi’s Power-to-Gas facility in Werlte, Germany.


With a blend of 20 tons SNG and 20 tons conventional liquefied natural gas (LNG), the ‘ElbBlue’ is expected to save approximately 56 tons of carbon output on its coming voyage to St. Petersburg, as opposed to operating on 100% LNG, according to the company.


Unifeeder, MAN Energy Solutions, and vessel owner Elbdeich Reederei have partnered on the trial over the last two years, with all firms involved aiming to further advance carbon reduction efforts in the maritime shipping sector.


“The future availability of green(er) fuels is essential. Our customers in Europe and beyond are expecting innovative solutions for improving our, and thereby also their, carbon footprint. In short, synthetic LNG is an exciting product and we are therefore very proud to be the first operator testing this new fuel on one of our vessels,” Timm Niebergall, Shortsea Director Unifeeder, said.


“This is a crucial step on the road to decarbonizing shipping. In reducing or even eliminating future emissions generated by the global supply chain, synthetic fuels and engine retrofits have a crucial role to play,” Stefan Eefting, Senior Vice President and Head of MAN PrimeServ, Augsburg commented.


“While a retrofit instantly reduces a ship’s emission levels, synthetic fuels like SNG can enable it to run 100% climate-neutrally. Today, we are demonstrating that any LNG-retrofitted ship can also run on fuels generated by power-to-X technology, and even as a mix of fuels depending on availability.”


In 2017, the ElbBlue – then named Wes Amelie – was retrofitted as dual-fuel engine made by MAN Energy Solutions to be able to operate on SNG.


Source: Offshore Energy

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