GTT is helping to make maritime transport cleaner


Paris – January 17th, 2020. At the press conference of Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT), an expert in membrane containment systems used to store and transport Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Philippe Berterottière, Chairman and CEO of GTT, spoke about the environmental regulations of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which impact the maritime sector.

Maritime transport is indeed a growing source of pollution that currently accounts for 2.5% of the world's greenhouse gases (or some 940 million tonnes of CO2). According to the IMO, this figure could increase significantly, if no measures are put in place, between now and 2050[1] as globalisation takes hold and tourism becomes more popular across the world.


Until now, world maritime transport has been relatively unregulated as far as its emissions are concerned. But now, the sector is embracing the environmental transition with the enforcement of the IMO’s new “2020 Global Sulphur Cap” regulation. As of 1 January 2020, this regulation caps sulphur oxide emissions at 0.5% (down from 3.5% previously) in all waters around the world.


Additional regulations will be brought into force for the maritime transport sector’s nitrogen oxide emissions, which account for more than 17% of the world's total emissions.  Starting on 1 January 2021, these regulations will be tighter in controlled emission[2] zones. The IMO also wants to reduce CO2 emissions per tonne transported by sea by 40% between now and 2030 compared with 2008 levels, and to halve total annual CO2 emissions by 2050 compared with 2008 levels.


These regulations are a major environmental and technical challenge for maritime companies which need to implement solutions in order to comply with them. GTT has been adapting its technologies over a number of years in order to take up the challenge posed by LNG-powered vessels. Using LNG as a fuel would appear to be the best solution compared with the other solutions available to ship-owners. LNG as fuel has a number of advantages: it is abundant, available and less costly.


Using LNG to power vessels cuts sulphur oxide emissions by more than 99% compared with heavy fuel and reduces fine particle emissions by 95%. Furthermore, beyond keeping to within the “2020 Global Sulphur Cap”, using LNG as fuel will ensure compliance with many of the forthcoming regulations on nitrogen oxide emissions (these are cut by 80% with LNG as fuel) and on CO2 emissions (emissions are reduced by more than 25% with LNG as fuel).


GTT estimates that around 100,000 merchant vessels are concerned by this ecological and energy transition. GTT is already supporting ship-owners, including the CMA CGM Group in designing cryogenic storage tanks for the nine largest LNG-powered container ships in the world (each one as a total capacity of 18,600 m³), the first one of which was launched in September. Ponant has also placed an order with GTT for the construction of LNG storage tanks for Le Commandant Charcot, the first LNG-powered icebreaking cruise ship. And in the first half of 2019, Hapag Lloyd decided to convert one of its container ships.


These orders are all evidence of GTT's expertise and of the efficiency of its technologies. The LNG as fuel market is set to grow over the next few years. GTT is therefore focusing on research and development so as to remain at the cutting-edge of technology and bolster its position as a leading technological player operating on the LNG chain.

[1] Source: IMO – Europa

[2] Controlled emission zones: Baltic Sea, North Sea, North America and the US Caribbean maritime zone


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