It is reported that the first marine natural gas refueling station on the Yangtze River will be opened next month.
The move is part of Chinaâ€™s efforts to use clean energy to reduce pollution. At present, ships passing through the Yangtze River use diesel and marine fuel oil, causing smog in the cities along the Yangtze River.
China Gas Holdings Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as China Gas) is building a natural gas terminal pilot project in Chongqing. At present, only some ships change their engines to use natural gas. Therefore, it may take many years to completely switch from fuel to natural gas and affect the global energy market.
However, many global companies have begun to queue up for investment. Wartsila Corp. of Finland and Rolls-Royce of the UK will supply the engine for the first natural gas-powered tugboat in Asia, which will be delivered to CNOOC at the end of the year. The tugboat will be used to tow oil drilling and to ship other large items along the river shipyard to the sea.
China hopes to become the first country in Asia to use natural gas as a marine fuel on a commercial scale, starting with an inland river vessel and then expanding to an international nautical vessel. China's Ministry of Communications plans to bring 2,000 natural gas fuel vessels by 2015, equivalent to only 2% of the total number of domestic river vessels. The Ministry of Communications also hopes to increase the number of natural gas fuel vessels to 10,000 by 2020.
China is already the fastest growing natural gas market in the world, and most of its future demand is expected to come from road and water transport.
The southern and eastern Yangtze River Delta, which launched this natural gas project, is China's industrial hub. The factories along the Yangtze River are densely covered, and the ships are vomiting black smoke. Cities along the Yangtze River have suffered greatly, and some have become the most polluted areas in China.
China Gas said that as of 2015, ships on the Yangtze River will burn 336 million tons of marine fuel per year, but if replaced with natural gas, it will reduce some of the most serious pollutant emissions, including reducing sulfur dioxide emissions by 90-95%. , reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20-25%.
However, there are some challenges in using natural gas instead. For example, in Asia, the price of natural gas is much higher than that of diesel, and the Chinese government raised the price of natural gas last month. However, China is providing more infrastructure and subsidies for natural gas-driven vessels, which may lead to a decline in the price of natural gas in the future.
Mikael Simelius, vice president of marketing at Wartsila, said, however, the current economic environment for China's inland river transportation has been difficult and has caused some key industry players to face sustained losses, so it may take some time for the industry to meet the government's goals.
Natural gas prices in the United States are lower. The data shows that the cost of LNG fuel in the US shipping industry is about $10 per unit, which is more than half the cost of diesel fuel per unit of $23. In China, natural gas burns three times as much as diesel.
It is understood that to promote natural gas fuel in the shipping industry, it is necessary to reduce costs, develop infrastructure, and provide strong supervision.