The European Union will allocate 27 million euros to the implementation of two projects in Spain through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which promotes more sustainable and efficient transport. Specifically, the European Commission will support a number of initiatives, including the development of two new LNG bunkering projects in Barcelona and Algeciras, coordinated by Enagás. Besides Enagás, the partners in these initiatives are Scale Gas (subsidiary created through Enagás Emprende program), Knutsen, and the Port Authorities of Barcelona and Bahía de Algeciras.
These projects are framed within the ‘LNGhive2’ institutional strategy leaded by Puertos del Estado, to support the development of LNG market as maritime fuel and and to guarantee its bunkering in the ports in compliance with EU Directive 94/2014 on alternative fuels.
Natural gas in decarbonizing maritime transport
These new grants show how Europe acknowledges the role that natural gas, and in particular LNG, will play in the decarbonisation of the maritime sector. The funds granted by the Connecting Europe Facility, which have been used to support a total of eight projects in Spain in the latest call, will help to achieve the climate objectives set out in the European Green Deal.
To reduce emissions from ships in ports, the EU gives priority to short sea shipping projects using alternative fuels and to the installation of shore-side energy supply systems.
The initiatives proposed by ‘LNGhive2’ will further strengthen Spain’s position as a European reference in LNG bunkering. They follow the initiatives for small-scale supply and adaptation of infrastructure and logistics that are already underway under the ‘CORE LNGas hive’ project.
The seven regasification plants in Spain are already adapted to supply LNG in transport, as are some ports, barges and tugboats, port cranes and trains.
LNG is, today, the best option for progress in decarbonizing maritime transport. It is a fuel that meets the standards of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which in January 2020 set the limit on the sulfur content of fuel at 0.5%.
Compared with traditional fuels, LNG eliminates 100% of SOx emissions, between 80 and 90% of NOx emissions and between 20 and 30% of CO2 emissions. The use of LNG as a marine fuel in Spain will reduce around 2 million tons of CO2 by 2030, which would be equivalent to the introduction of more than one million electric vehicles on the market.
Bunkering operations in Spain
Up to June 2020, bunkering operations in Spain increased threefold compared to the same period last year (89 operations in 2019 and 297 in 2020) and the volume of LNG supplied has almost doubled (38,663 m3 in 2019 and 62,837 m3 in 2020).
According to the DNV/GL certifier, there are 169 LNG-powered ships operating in the world, 222 have been ordered and 126 are “LNG ready”. Furthermore, six of the 15 barges currently supplying LNG in the world have operated in Spain in recent years, reinforcing the country’s role in supplying LNG to ships from trucks, ships or terminals.
This has been made possible by the development and progress of the ‘CORE LNGas hive’ and ‘LNGhive2’ public/private initiatives, co-financed by the European Commission. A total of 49 partners are taking part in these initiatives -21 public (including 13 port authorities) and 28 private/industrial partners.