LNG is a promising alternative to conventional fossil fuels used within the shipping sector. Its combustion produces only a fraction of the NOx and PM of fuel oil and can produce considerable improvements in air quality. For LNG to single-handedly deliver the targets of the 2031 PLA Air Quality Strategy, only 35% of activity on the River Thames must be LNG-powered.
Smaller contributions are more likely as uptake in LNG has not been as significant as once envisioned, owing in part at least to a recent drop in oil prices. However, whilst for air quality, LNG is an ideal choice, it does not deliver the savings in greenhouse gas emissions that align with the ambitions of the International Maritime Organisation: it is fundamentally still a fossil fuel and methane slip can cause any potential greenhouse gas savings to be mitigated, although this probably not the case. As a result, the PLA has no plans to support the adoption of LNG within the Thames’ fleet, and we should be looking to find fuels that offer co-benefits of reductions in greenhouse gases and air pollutants.
The PLA will be publishing full details soon on its main website.
Photo credit: MEED