The first inland waterway vessel to be retrofitted with pollution-reducing LNG engines, ‘Eiger-Nordwand’, has been launched as part of the EU-supported ‘LNG Masterplan Rhine-Main-Danube’ project.
The project is a series of studies and trials to assess the use of LNG as a shipping fuel in the European inland waterway sector. It aims to pave the way for more clean fuels to be deployed on the entire transport supply chain along the inland waterway networks.
Dirk Beckers, executive director, INEA, said: “This is only a start. The LNG Masterplan is a prime example of the opportunities we have ahead to develop new technologies and new fuels, and I am confident that this project will continue to deliver benefits to inland waterways by analysing and testing all aspects related to LNG deployment.
The ‘Masterplan’ is one of the largest projects financed through the TEN-T programme, which was chosen for funding under the 2012 TEN-T Multi-Annual Call. It benefits from over €40m of EU support and is implemented by a consortium from across the 12 Member States.
“LNG is rapidly emerging as a more environmentally friendly fuel for the shipping sector and its uptake is strongly encouraged by the European Union,” he added.
As part of the project, a series of inland waterway vessels will be retrofitted with LNG engines capable of substantially decreasing nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate emissions, the main pollutants from inland waterway transport, as well as improving local air quality alongside waterways and ports.
Eiger-Nordwand is the first vessel to be retrofitted, marking an important milestone in the project.
The results of the ‘Masterplan’ project, due by December 2015, are expected to have a significant impact on LNG’s introduction on the European inland waterway networks and to promote this means of transport.