This project by the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance (CNGVA), VARD Marine, and Clear Seas with support from Transport Canada’s Innovation Centre, investigated the feasibility, benefits, and risks of the use of natural gas to replace some or all of the current diesel and heavy fuel oil used in the Canadian Arctic.
The technologies that support all aspects of using LNG as a marine fuel are well proven and no technological barriers preventing the use of LNG under Arctic conditions exist. The economic feasibility of LNG depends on a discount between natural gas and oil prices, because of the need to repay higher capital cost of new and retrofitted LNG systems on ships.
LNG’s ability to reduce air and water pollution may drive its growth as a marine fuel in support of meeting current and pending environmental regulations like the heavy fuel oil (HFO) ban. The environmental benefits of LNG include reductions in oil spill risk and emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur oxides (SOX), nitrogen oxides (NOX), particulate matter, and black carbon. However, emissions of methane, a powerful short-term greenhouse gas, increase. The change in 100-year global warming potential CO2-equivalent emissions in the Canadian Arctic region from the different LNG implementation scenarios depends on which engine technology is used, with limited or no benefit from using the more common high-methane emissions engines and up to 29% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the less common low-methane emissions engines.
This study illustrates LNG is already in use in Canada and in the Arctic region. With a careful approach, LNG can provide the region with several benefits. Marine use of LNG is an opportunity for the Arctic and Canada.
LNG is a proven technology with its first commercial implementation as a fuel in the marine sector dating back to the 1960s. There is now an increasing demand for LNG-fuelled ships driven by economics, environmental regulations, and LNG bunkering availability.
- VARD Marine
On January 25 and 26, 2022, Clear Seas held a virtual roundtable to help chart a future for marine shipping and the use of natural gas in the Canadian Arctic. The workshop brought together 40 people – participants and speakers – representing a range of opinions and perspectives from Traditional Knowledge to Western science.
Paul Blomerus, Executive Director, Clear Seas
Meghan Mathieson, Director of Strategy and Innovation, Clear Seas
Chloe Scott, former Research Associate, Clear Seas
Andrew Kendrick, Principal Consultant, VARD Marine
Andrew Miltimore, Mechanical Engineer, VARD Marine
Sarah Thomson, Quality Manager and Engineer, VARD Marine
Published September 26, 2022