First use of synthetic natural gas in container ship

By Julian Buckley01 October 2021

MAN Energy Solutions has announced that the Elbdeich Reederei-owned ElbBlue container ship has bunkered approximately 20 tonnes of green synthetic natural gas (SNG).

MAN reports that this is the first time synthetic fuel generated by 100% renewable energy sourced via power-to-X technology has been employed in commercial shipping.

The fuel was bunkered at the Elbe port in Brunsbüttel, Germany.

In 2017, the 1,036 TEU feeder container ship had its MAN 8L48/60B main engine retrofitted with a four-stroke MAN 51/60DF unit to enable dual-fuel operation. MAN reports this was the first time such an operation was completed.

Speaking at the celebration event, Wayne Jones OBE, chief sales officer, MAN Energy Solutions, said: “This is an important lighthouse project, essentially a proof of concept for the maritime energy transition. At MAN Energy Solutions, we strongly believe in the synthetic-fuels roadmap but joint efforts across the industry are needed to make it happen.”

The liquefied SNG was produced in a power-to-gas facility in Werlte, Germany, owned by Kiwi AG. It was generated using 100% renewable energy.

The ElbBlue continued its journey under the supervision of engineers from MAN PrimeServ, MAN Energy Solutions’ after-sales division. As a result of using SNG, the vessel’s direct CO2 emissions are expected to decline by 56 tons over the voyage.

Other partners in the project included Unifeeder, Liquind and Wessels Marine.

The ElbBlue sails in the North and Baltic Seas.

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