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Knutsen LNG Carrier to Anchor Lifespan Assessment on Ship Emissions

LNG assessment
A newly built LNG carriers from Hyundai for Knutsen will be the basis for the assessment (Knutsen file photo)

Published Jun 9, 2023 7:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

Responding to the continuing strong growth in LNG shipbuilding, plans were announced for a groundbreaking assessment that seeks to assess the environmental impacts across the entire life cycle of an LNG carrier. Lloyd’s Register, Knutsen, HD Korea Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering, and HD Hyundai Heavy Industries announced plans for the first-of-its-kind assessment that will measure carbon emissions through the entire life of a newbuild LNG carrier during this week’s Nor-Shipping conference.

Coming when orders for LNG carriers are recording rapid growth, the joint development project will provide vital insights for the commercial shipping industry which is under intense pressure to cut down on its carbon footprints. By measuring carbon emissions for the entire life cycle of a ship from raw material extraction to decommissioning/recycling, including equipment and component manufacture, its transportation to the shipyard, construction and commissioning, operation and maintenance, the study is expected to be the focal reference point on environmental impacts of LNG carriers. 

“As part of the decarbonization of our sector, maritime organizations need to ensure that they rethink the sustainability of the design, build, and operation of vessels,” said Andy McKeran, Lloyd’s Register Chief Commercial Officer. “This first-of-its-kind study will provide stakeholders with the unique opportunity to collect quantifiable data that measures the environmental impact of the ship build process and analysis across a vessel’s entire life cycle. This is vital information that will help organizations to determine their future sustainability strategies.”

Hyundai said that the assessment will involve calculating the carbon emissions over the entire life of a Knudsen LNG carrier. The vessel is set to deliver this month from the shipbuilder. Both KSOE and HHI will participate in analyzing the process and provide data including on raw materials and energy use for each process while Lloyd’s Register will develop modeling to calculate emissions with Knudsen providing carbon data throughout the stages of ship operations, maintenance, and scrapping.

The lifecycle assessment will provide the detailed environmental impact of the LNG carrier and its carbon emissions, quantifying each construction stage’s raw material usage, energy inputs, and environmental releases as well as the emissions for the vessel’s operations and eventual disposal.

It will determine the environmental output of the vessel build process, helping organizations to improve their regulatory readiness and provide estimations on the impacts of future regulations, along with data to provide the basis for sustainability strategies. The study will also lay the groundwork for Lloyd’s Register rulesets, requirements, and guidance on how to assess carbon emissions in the entire lifecycle of a ship.

“We have for a long time been interested in finding out lifetime CO2 emissions from a ship,” said Jarle Østenstad, Knutsen Director Newbuilding and Innovation. “This project will give interesting results to be used for further optimization of the fleet and to do more qualified assessments for deciding whether to extend the lifetime of vessels, do conversions/upgrades, or build new vessels in order to minimize emissions.”

The study comes when the commercial shipping industry is witnessing a shift to LNG carriers with a growing orderbook for newbuilds. As of the end of 2021, there were around 700 LNG carriers in operation with another 34 added last year. A further 335 LNG ships are expected to be delivered between 2023 and 2028, according to data from Clarkson Research. Shipowners are believed to be continuing to explore further LNG carrier orders with reports that Qatar is poised to begin its next major round of orders in its long-term growth plan.

“As the global environmental regulations are expanding to the entire value chain, our joint development project for the life cycle assessment of ships will be a crucial step for both shipbuilding and shipping industries,” said Kwanghean An, HD KSOE President & Chief Operating Officer. Kwanghean added that by measuring a ship's environmental impact through its life cycle, the commercial shipping industry can effectively determine improvement priorities and its sustainable business strategy.