The rapid growth in installed LNG tank capacity points to a potential boom in LNG for larger vessels over the coming years and could mark the start of a new era in ship fuel, according Martin Wold, head of the Alternative Fuels Insight (AFI) platform at DNV GL – Maritime.
“There are now 163 LNG-fuelled ships in operation and a further 155 ships on order,” said Wold at a press event at this week’s Nor-Shipping conference “Order intake for LNG-fuelled vessels has remained steady for several years now at around 40 ships per year. However, in 2019 we have already passed 40 new orders in the first five months, which could be a sign that the pace for LNG fuel investments is picking up.”
Launched in 2018, the AFI platform is an open platform for helping ship owners and other maritime stakeholders monitor the global uptake of alternative fuels and technologies and assess the best options for their own vessels. The platform covers LNG, LPG and methanol, as well as emission reducing technologies such as scrubbers and batteries. So far over 2,000 users have signed up for the platform.
According to Wold, the number of vessels with scrubbers stood at 3,553, but this could be higher as some manufacturers did not report orders on a regular basis.
“The boom of 2018 seems to have leveled off somewhat, but new orders keep coming in. There are more than 2,000 installations reported to be completed in 2019, which would mean by the start date of the ‘sulphur cap’ almost 3,000 scrubber vessels will be in operation,” he said. “However, due to the complexity of scrubber retrofits, we expect that not all of these vessels will be on the water by 2020.”