Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a viable option for fuelling ships, and owners should not be concerned about issues of price, availability, or safety, Wärtsilä Corporation (Wärtsilä) CEOBjorn Rosengren told an audience at an Interferry conference in Malta earlier this month, industry news site Maritime Executive reports.
"We are convinced it will be one of the main marine fuels of the future and much of our R&D spend is dedicated to this," he said.
Wärtsilä already has a reference list of more than 200 LNG installations on vessels and on land, with a total of 77 million running hours.
The groundbreaking LNG-powered Viking Grace ferry, which began operations this year, is now being bunkered six times a week during one-hour stops in Stockholm, providing evidence for the viability of the technology, Rosengren said.
Another industry player, Per Westling,managing director of Sweden's Stena RoRo, said the company has chosen to convert its 25 vessels to methanol rather than LNG, with the change-over planned to be completed by 2018.
"Conversion to methanol is considerably less expensive and basically just involves the fuel injection and tank ventilation systems.," he said.
"For LNG you have to change everything but the engine block and crankshaft.
"The environmental and cost benefits led us to methanol."