Availability and costs of liquefied bio- and synthetic methane

Currently, a small but growing number of ships are LNG-fuelled, owing mainly to stricter air pollution regulation for maritime shipping. Decarbonisation of the maritime shipping sector requires the use of zero/low carbon fuels. Options include liquefied biomethane (LBM) and liquefied synthetic methane (LSM), which have the advantage of requiring  no major modifications to LNG-fuelled vessels and merely an upscaling of a technically mature LNG infrastructure. Crucial for the viability of this route are the LBM and LSM volumes that will become available to the shipping industry and their relative cost compared with other zero/low carbon fuels are.

Against this background this study aims:

  • to assess the global availability of LBM and LSM in relation to the global energy demand of maritime shipping;
  • to assess the cost price of LBM and LSM and compare it with the cost (price) of other existing and potential marine bunker fuels; and
  • to make recommendations as to how industry and policymakers can address barriers to the scaling of LBM and LSM as marine fuels.

The study focuses on 2030 and 2050, years in which important milestones in the IMO Initial Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions will have to be met, and is based on a review of scientific and grey, i.e. non-academic, literature.