Seaspan Ferries Corp (Seaspan) has become the first Canadian marine company to pilot the use of renewable natural gas (RNG).
This trial was aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) produced by its roll-on, roll-off LNG powered ships.
Seaspan said that it expected data from the pilot test will confirm that, by using RNG, GHG emissions can be reduced by upwards of 85%, versus traditional diesel fuel.
As part of Seaspan’s continued efforts to reduce vessel emissions and explore alternative fuels, the company has worked closely with FortisBC Energy to secure a source of certified carbon neutral RNG.
“Renewable natural gas, when used in our fleet in conjunction with traditional natural gas, will allow us to move towards our emissions reduction goals and make a real impact on our carbon footprint,” said Harly Penner, Seaspan’s Director of fleet engineering and vessel development. “It also allows us to leverage the growing production of RNG in our region. We look forward to continuing to work on growing our sustainability efforts in the near future.”
FortisBC’s RNG programme re-opened to new subscribers on 15th October this year, as the company was successful in dramatically increasing supply over the past year.
By the end of 2021, FortisBC forecasts it will have tripled its RNG supply from 2020 and is poised to potentially triple it again by the end of 2022, if expected projects proceed on pace, the company said.
“We know that our future is a renewable one – so when Seaspan approached us about being a part of an RNG pilot for marine LNG vessels, we were tremendously excited,” said Mike Leclair, Vice President, major projects and LNG at FortisBC.
“Using renewable natural gas for marine LNG has the potential to be an emissions game changer for the sector and is yet another example of how renewable gas development is transforming our natural gas infrastructure into a delivery system for carbon neutral energy, supporting BC’s climate action goals,” he said.
When bacteria breaks down, organic waste from sources, such as landfill sites, agricultural waste and wastewater from treatment facilities, produces a biogas mostly made of methane.
FortisBC captures and purifies this to create RNG, a certified carbon neutral energy source, preventing the release of methane into the environment.
As RNG mixes into the existing natural gas infrastructure, it displaces equivalent volumes of conventional natural gas and lowers GHG emissions overall.
Like conventional natural gas, RNG can be used as a transportation fuel in the form of compressed natural gas or LNG.
RNG has been approved by BC’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation for inclusion within the province’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard for transportation.
FortisBC said that it believed applying carbon neutral energy to proven technology, like LNG powered marine engines, provides a viable way for forward thinking marine shipping companies such as Seaspan to reduce GHG emissions and strengthens BC’s potential credentials as a desirable LNG marine fuelling hub.