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The Adoption of Liquefied Natural Gas as a Ship Fuel: A Systematic Review of Perspectives and Challenges

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The stringent ship emission regulations under IMO's (International Maritime Organization) MARPOL Annex VI are a main driver to consider liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a ship fuel. Research into LNG as a marine fuel saw a strong growth in recent years, but no study has analyzed in a systematic way the level of convergence among the findings presented in the wide range of studies. In order to fill this gap, this paper seeks to perform a systematic review to synthesize the findings of 33 published studies on the use of LNG as a ship fuel. The aim is not only to obtain a much broader understanding of the current perspectives and challenges for applying LNG as a bunker for ship propulsion, but also to identify the gaps and weak points in the literature which could suggest future research. Moreover, given the output of the synthesis, the paper presents an extensive decision-making framework for shipowners when deciding on a fuel switch for their fleet from conventional oils to LNG in order to achieve a level of conceptual development beyond that attained in individual studies. In addition, the study also identifies the important role of ports in facilitating and encouraging the large-scale adoption of LNG in the maritime industry.
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Keywords: ECAs; LNG; air emission; research synthesis; ship fuel; systematic review

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Transport & Maritime Management Antwerp (ITMMA), University of Antwerp, Kipdorp 59, B-2000, Antwerp, Belgium

Publication date: November 2, 2014

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