China strives to use more LNG to fuel ships in line with IMO rules

Monday, 08 February 2021
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China has pledged to improve its use of cleaner fuel in the transportation sector where more LNG will be used for shipping, trucking and other industries, while domestic Emission Control Areas are being expanded in line with International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations and the natural gas pipeline grid will be improved.

The lengthy list of current and future plans has been published in main state-controlled media under the heading “Sustainable Development of Transport in China”. The report noted that the Chinese directives are backed by the most recent 19th Communist Party of China National Congress with goals for realizing more modernization through to 2035.

“The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee proposed that we should accelerate the effort to build China into a country with a strong transport system,” the report reads. China said it would be pursuing “green development” by promoting a cleaner and improved transport sector and would achieve real results in energy conservation and carbon reduction.

Today, there are reportedly some 400,000 buses and 430,000 trucks using new energy such as LNG, compressed natural gas and battery power and 180,000 natural gas and new fuel passenger vehicles such as hybrids. China is also planning to have more LNG-powered ships as part of its cleaner shipping policy.

Tackling air pollution

The government stated that it attached great importance to the prevention and control of transport pollution, and has issued a series of policy documents, including the “Implementation Plan on Domestic Emission Control Areas” in the waters of the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta and Bohai Sea Rim (Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei). It was also implementing the IMO’s “Global Marine Fuel Oil Sulfur Limits” brought in at the start of 2020.

“With its initial focus on the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River and the Bohai Sea, China has set the goal of controlling and reducing emissions of atmospheric pollutants including sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matters (PMs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from vessels and improving the air quality of coastal areas and inland river port cities,” stated the report. At present, China said its EMAs have been further expanded along the coastal areas and the main streams of the Yangtze and Xijiang rivers, and stricter control standards have been proposed for the waters in Hainan.

The main EMAs outside China are in Northwest Europe and North America and with others planned in the Mediterranean by the nations of Southern Europe where the broader use of LNG fuel for shipping is being promoted and bunkering availability is improving.

China, the world’s second-largest LNG importer, also stated that it was building out its natural gas pipeline grid. “A trunk network of gas pipelines is improving with the capacity to transmit gas from West to East China, from Sichuan to East China and from Shaanxi to Beijing, and to bring gas from offshore,” said the report. Other infrastructure statistics such China’s national railway electrification rate having reached 71.9%.

Pivot to cleaner fuel sources

About 14% of airport vehicles and facilities are run on new energy sources, substitute facilities for aircraft auxiliary power units (APUs) are in full use, and the numbers of postal vehicles run on new and clean energy such as electricity and gas are steadily increasing in key regions. “More than 7,400 charging piles have been built and operated in 942 expressway service areas across the country, more than 5,800 sets of shore power facilities have been built at ports, covering over 7,200 berths, and container terminals at major ports along the Yangtze and coastlines have switched from oil to electricity for power,” the report outlines, adding: The annual energy saved by green transport provinces and cities, green highways, green ports and other demonstration projects has exceeded 630,000 tonnes of coal equivalent.

Coal logistics corridors are now better configured and a railway corridor for energy and commodities transport running across the country has taken shape. Looking ahead, China stressed it is “engaged in an all-out effort to build a great modern socialist country. Transport will play a stronger part in leading economic and social development. China will implement the new development strategy and develop safe, convenient, efficient, green and economical transport to lay a solid foundation for modernization by 2035.” 

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