CMA CGM and Engie to work on bio-LNG production

French shipping group CMA CGM and compatriot energy firm Engie have signed a deal to work on the industrial-scale production and distribution of synthetic methane and bio-LNG.

The two firms have already partnered on an initial project in the Port of Marseille aimed at creating France’s first bio-LNG production unit.

This project would provide fuel for CMA CGM’s large fleet of LNG-powered containerships.

Now, the two firms have decided to establish a long-term strategic and industrial cooperation focused on the production of decarbonized fuels, according to a joint statement released on Tuesday.

The cooperation has the ambition to support the development of a synthetic methane production and distribution industry that can be used by the shipping sector.

Engie is developing further synthetic methane production industrial projects in which CMA CGM would have the possibility to invest, including by means of multi-year purchase commitments, the statement said.

These projects will harness various technologies, such as pyro-gasification or methanation using green hydrogen and captured CO2.

“In order to ensure the durability of the industry, the partnership between CMA CGM and ENGIE will facilitate the sharing of both groups’ knowledge and R&D work, most notably in key technologies such as carbon capture and green hydrogen production,” the statement said.

Slashing emissions

LNG can reduce today sulfur oxide emissions by 99 percent, fine particle emissions by 91 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 92 percent, the duo says.

CMA CGM currently accounts for 20 “e-methane ready” vessels equipped with dual-fuel engines and running on LNG and will have 44 “e-methane” vessels by year-end 2024.

This “groundbreaking decision” helped to cut CMA CGM’s overall carbon emissions by 4 percent in 2020, following on from a 6 percent reduction in 2019.

The group has lowered its carbon emissions per container-kilometer by 49 percent since 2008, the statement said.

The dual-fuel gas-power technology developed by CMA CGM and currently using LNG is already capable of using bio-LNG and synthetic methane.

In this context, CMA CGM and Engie are joining forces to “champion the production and distribution industry.”

Biomethane can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 67 percent compared to VLSFO on a well-to-wake basis, the duo said.

Synthetic methane, meanwhile, would eliminate the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions, they said.

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