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Studies on possibilities of using liquefied natural gas at the port of Koper

April 6, 2017.- The Directive 2014/94/EU on deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure was adopted with the aim of minimising dependence on oil and to mitigate the environmental impact of transport. Through the Directive the European Union requested from Member States to draft national policy frameworks on alternative fuels, among which also liquefied natural gas (LNG) is listed. Member States shall also ensure that an appropriate number of refuelling points for LNG are put in maritime ports to enable ships to circulate throughout the TEN-T Core Network by the end of 2025.

The National spatial plan for comprehensive spatial arrangement of the international port in Koper doesn’t foresee the existence of fixed infrastructure for LNG, nevertheless since the Port of Koper is among Core EU ports, it has to guarantee support to LNG powered vessels.

To study adequately the field in cooperation with institutions that have experience with LNG, Luka Koper joined the Action GAINN4 MOS which is co-financed by the European Union through the Connecting Europe Facility.

In the presence of a professional audience, on Wednesday, 5th of April 2017, the presentation of studies dedicated to LNG that were developed under the GAINN4MOS Action took place in Koper. Among others new knowledge was acquired in relation to technical possibilities to refuel vessels with LNG at the Port of Koper.

Goran Matešic, energy manager at Luka Koper, pointed out that the company is open to study any alternative. He is sure that the outcomes of the studies carried out as part of the GAINN4MOS Action will help also in the preparation of the national framework policy on alternative fuels.

Uroš Prosen, director of TGE Gas Engineering Slovenia, presented global practice in relation to use of LNG as fuel for the maritime industry. Considering space limitation of the Port of Koper and safety issues, the refuel would be possible only with mobile solutions – for example through specialized feeder vessels. For now it seems that refuelling could be done only at anchorage and not at berth. It is true however, that there is currently no demand for LNG at the Port of Koper. Prosen pointed out also that any serious planning in relation to LNG must be based on results of risks analysis. Bunkering with the aid of trucks doesn’t come of use since to supply for example a cruise vessel about 50 trucks would be needed. It is true however that currently there is no demand for LNG in Koper. Generally speaking, there is not a great interest for refuelling in Koper since vessels prefer to refuel in other north Adriatic ports, so it is to expect that such trend will persist also in case of a greater permeation of LNG.

Andrej Stušek, director of ENOS LNG d.o.o. presented the outcomes of the study related to possibilities to use LNG as fuel for port handling equipment – in particular for yard tractors and reach stackers. Štušek discouraged any retrofitting activity, since reliability and safety are of core importance for port operations. There are currently no LNG driven reach stackers available on the market, but it is possible to acquire LNG fuelled yard tractors from producers. Economic calculations depend greatly on the price of LNG vs. price of diesel, it is true however that in case of LNG driven equipment emissions in the environment are lower in comparison to conventional equipment.

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