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Rolls-Royce: Ready for the LNG revolution

02.12.2014
Vodní cesty
Rolls-Royce: Ready for the LNG revolution

The marine industry relies on fuel oils for almost all current powering needs, but tighter emission regulations and the need to go 'green' are starting to convince vessel operators to consider the alternatives. That's where Rolls-Royce is in place to help. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is being widely hailed as the marine fuel of the future. For Rolls-Royce, engines fuelled solely by natural gas have been in production since 1991. Since the introduction of the Bergen lean burn technology more than 650 gas engines have been delivered for operation on land or at sea. More than 23 million running hours of experience have been accumulated. Exhaust emissions from ships came into sharper focus because of national and international antipollution rules phased in since 2005. As emission control areas (ECAs) were introduced in the Baltic, North Sea, and later the United States, the hunt was on for cleaner fuels. Deep sea vessels have mainly used heavy fuel oil (HFO). In the late 1970s the quality of this fuel deteriorated as crude oil was more intensively refined for valuable fractions, and ships were encouraged to burn the cheap residue, the engine manufacturers working hard to develop engines capable of using it. High sulphur HFO is not usable in ECA areas around many coastlines without expensive exhaust cleaning systems. The rules for using light distillate liquid fuels are also becoming stricter, with a probable increase in fuel price as the forthcoming SOx restrictions will encourage a higher uptake of ultra low sulphur fuel. Nitrogen oxide emissions are also very much in focus, with states increasingly imposing penalties. In the case of Norway, a tax on NOx emissions has been given a positive aspect by turning tax into a fund, which is used to encourage NOx reduction measures, subsidising and rewarding practical reductions. With the use of liquid fuels for marine propulsion becoming more expensive and problematic, attention has turned to LNG. LNG is mainly methane, and its chemical composition leads directly to lower CO2 emissions. LNG is also virtually sulphur-free. With suitable engine technology, NOx emissions are also dramatically reduced, and the gas burns cleanly without smoke and with few particulates. It is now more abundant than oil and less expensive, although its price compared with liquid fuels varies around the world. It is projected that this differential on an energy equivalent basis will continue, and may even increase. This has opened up an opportunity for significant fuel cost savings for operators. When the shipping industry began to take an interest in LNG, Rolls-Royce was there with well proven medium speed engine technology. ZDROJ: www.rolls-royce.com

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