Wes Amelie retrofit plans to run on synthetic natural gas

Wes Amelie retrofit plans to run on synthetic natural gas

MAN Energy Solutions and Wessels Marine have announced a technical showcase whereby the 2017-retrofitted Wes Amelie, a 1,036-teu feeder containership, will use liquefied Synthetic Natural Gas (SNG) produced from renewable electrical energy as drop-in fuel.

The companies are cooperating on the Wes Amelie project with Nauticor, the LNG transportation company, and Unifeeder, the charter company.

To demonstrate that SNG can successfully be used as shipping fuel, 20 of the 120 tons of LNG that the Wes Amelie typically uses per round trip will be replaced by climate-neutral SNG. As a result, CO2 emissions are expected to decline by 56 tons for this trip.

Automobile manufacturer Audi’s Power-to-Gas facility in Werlte, where a liquefaction plant is currently under construction, will provide the SNG, which will be generated by wind energy and is therefore 100 per cent climate-neutral. The SNG trip will take place after the completion of the liquefaction plant in Q2 2020.

Stefan Eefting – head of MAN PrimeServ in Augsburg, said: “This is another important milestone and proof of concept for the Maritime Energy Transition, the initiative we have been driving since 2016. We strongly believe that a roadmap based on LNG and SNG as fuels can lead the way to a decarbonised future for shipping and, in Wessels Marine, we have the perfect partner.”

“The Wes Amelie project has always been about demonstrating the technologically doable while pointing out the regulatory actions necessary to make it possible,” said Christian Hoepfner, managing owner of Wessels Marine, Hamburg. “The initial retrofit to LNG took support from the German Government to be financially viable, but it was a huge success for the environment in that it drastically reduced emissions. As a consequence, there now is a retrofit programme in place to make more retrofits happen.

“In another world-first, we will now demonstrate that SNG can successfully be used to reduce harmful emissions even further as the fuel is climate-neutral. However, the costs are still way too high. Going forward, governments and regulators will have to work together to make this a viable and available option for shipowners.”

“To bring down future emissions generated in the global-trade supply chain, synthetic fuels play a crucial role. Especially in shipping, the use of batteries alone is not a viable option and any successful decarbonisation efforts need to address the fuel. Power-to-X technology allows the generation of 100% climate-neutral natural gas from renewable energy. This technology has tremendous potential and needs to be freed from regulatory burdens and to be developed on an industrial scale to bring down costs,” added Mr Eefting.