One of the challenges for the future of liquefied natural gas as a marine fuel and a major point of contention in the environmental community is the methane slide where unburned LNG is released into the environment. A Swiss-based climate technology company, Daphne Technologies, reports that it has received design approvals from DNV and Lloyd’s Register for a methane reduction technology that solves the problem.
Environmentalists point out that methane leakage is one of the most harmful greenhouse gas emissions because it increases ozone at ground level. While the LNG industry reports that newer engines significantly reduce or eliminate methane slip, research efforts are also underway to develop solutions to capture unburned methane from a ship’s emissions. Using a plug-and-play approach, Daphne Technologies reports that its solution reduces over 90% of methane leaks from LNG-fueled engines, providing an extension of the life of LNG as a marine fuel and a clear path towards a carbon-neutral shipping industry.
“As the maritime industry continues its journey towards decarbonization, the use of low-carbon fuels is essential,” said Martin Cartwright, global business manager for gas carriers and FSRUs at DNV Maritime. “LNG is a key transition fuel for reducing GHGs and other emissions to be released today, with the potential to become a net-zero option as more bio- and E-LNGs come online. Orders for LNG-powered ships have grown rapidly in recent years, and reducing their operational emissions by reducing methane slip will only improve the GHG benefits over conventionally powered ships.
Launched as a spin-off from the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne in 2017, Daphne Technology conducts research and develops systems to help the maritime industry reduce emissions. The company is working on several applications of its technologies for LNG and heavy fuel oil. The company has developed an energy-efficient process using high-energy electrons that convert pollutants in exhaust gases into non-hazardous forms.
Daphne’s system uses a plug-and-play design and can be retrofitted to existing LNG-powered vessels
Daphne’s solution is a non-catalytic exhaust gas purification system developed to limit methane leakage from LNG fueled engines, alongside the reduction of other emissions such as NOx, SOx and PM (Black Carbon). Called SlipPure, the system has received approval in principle from both classification societies. SlipPure company reports can also be combined with carbon capture technologies.
“The transition to sustainable energy sources is fundamentally reshaping the global economy. A dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is required to reach true zero,” says Dr. Mario Michan, CEO and Founder of Daphne Technology. “The approval in principle demonstrates that our technology can be installed on vessels and is an important milestone for Daphne Technology, bringing us closer to the deployment and commercialization of our SlipPureTM system.”
The company plans to conduct pilot applications and further development until the system is fully commercialized. They believe it will be applicable to a wide range of LNG carriers and LNG-powered vessels and suitable for existing vessels.