Tote completes renewable LNG bunkering first

Thursday, 21 October 2021
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Fuelling specialist Tote Maritime has completed the first bunkering of a marine vessel with ‘renewable’ LNG in the US, at the JAX LNG facility in Jacksonville.

The refuelling operation was completed between the firm’s bunker barge Clean Jacksonville and the LNG-powered container ship Isla Bella, with a mixture of tradtional LNG and renewable LNG transferred.

The introduction of blended LNG is forecast to become increasingly popular, and Mike Noone, President of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, predicted that the fuel will play an important part in the ‘clean fuel revolution’ as JAX LNG continues to solidify its position as the industry leader.

“We’re proud to partner with JAX LNG, which has continued to solidify its position as the industry leader in the clean fuel revolution,” said Mike Noone, President of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico. “RNG is a clean, drop-in fuel source that can be readily deployed for use today, since it needs no new equipment to capture or transport it,” Noone commented.

Renewable thermal certificates

The RLNG used for this bunkering was produced from renewable natural gas supplied by asset management and biogas firm Element Markets. Produced from the decomposition of organic waste, the RNG was not only compatible with existing natural gas infrastructure, but was also accompanied by renewable thermal certificates (RTCs), adding regulatory incentives for the operators.

Angela Schwarz, CEO of Element Markets “RNG offers highly flexible pathways to reducing transportation emissions. We are glad to be part of these forward-thinking initiatives to decarbonize large-scale logistics operations,” said.

The use of tax breaks, such as the alternative fuel tax credit, has helped many firms to adjust operations and make investments in assets that reduce carbon intensity and Tote predicts this latest milestone will help to further accelerate decarbonization of the transport sector.

Noone of Tote explains that “the RTCs were matched to the physical LNG” loaded into the Clean Jacksonville to create a unqiue RLNG/LNG blended product, helping to mitigate and repurpose carbon emissions.

Beneficial fuel source

Roger Williams, VP Commercial LNG and Gas Development at BHE GT&S, the parent company of Pivotal LNG, which holds 50% ownership of JAX LNG, believes that the ability of RLNG blends to help customers reduce their environmental footprint will be a major factor going forward, calling the latest bunker operation “an example of what is possible” in the realm of renewable natural gas and citing plans to expand on this success.

JAX LNG has signed long-term supply agreements for two LNG-fueled container vessels — the Isla Bella and the Perla del Caribe — that TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico utilizes to reliably transport goods between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico.

“Providing our customers an environmentally beneficial fuel source is JAX LNG’s goal,” said Tim Casey, SVP of NorthStar Midstream, which shares 50% ownership of JAX LNG. “Supplying LNG sourced from RNG further supports our commitment to aid the shipping industry’s transition to a net-zero emissions future.”

Headquartered in Florida, TOTE Group is an owner/operator of shipping services across the US and Caribbean. The firm has been at the forefront of LNG development since 2015, ordering some of the world's first LNG-powered container ships. 

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