The benefits of LNG
Although Honfleur is not the first ship to be powered by LNG, she will be the first regularly operating on the Channel. Ferry services powered by LNG already operate in the Baltic Sea and the technology is tried, tested and safe.
As the name implies Liquefied Natural Gas, is a process by which a liquid is created from a naturally occurring gas. This is cooled to temperatures of -162 degrees Celsius, which shrinks it by a factor of 600 in volume, creating a liquid.
This is colourless and odourless, and many thousands of cars and commercial vehicles are currently fuelled by LNG. It’s a more efficient combustion process than burning traditional fossil fuels, with around 25% fewer carbon dioxide emissions. More significant benefits come from the fact that emissions are sulphur-free and there is a significant reduction in nitrogen dioxide and PM (particulate matter).
LNG is now becoming increasingly common as a fuel for passenger ships. Ferry lines such as Viking Line and Tallink, as well as cruise lines like Carnival, Aida and MSC, have turned to LNG.
Ships operating on LNG have an excellent safety record and are required to comply with a new set of regulations known as the IGF code. This has been specifically developed for the use of gas as a propellant, with safety elements drawn directly taken from ocean-going LNG carriers. This sector has operated without major incident for the last forty years, with many LNG carriers able to handle up to 120 000 m3 of LNG. Honfleur, by comparision, will carry up to a maximum of approximately 350 m3.
LNG is clearly a fuel for the future. It is favoured by regulators and everyone who is concerned about protecting our planet. The European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050 for example, points to natural gas as key to aspirations for clean energy targets in 2050.