On 19 December 2018, the world’s first cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) departed for its maiden voyage from Tenerife. The AIDAnova was built in Germany, using technology that was developed in Germany with the financial support of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Said Norbert Brackmann, Federal Government Coordinator for the Maritime Industry:
“Today’s maiden voyage takes Germany a major step closer to green shipping. Compared to traditional, oil-based shipping fuels, LNG is a lot less emissions-intense. This shows that shipbuilding ‘made in Germany’ is ahead of the curve and that the political support bears fruit. LNG is a viable bridging technology for the time until we have zero-emissions vessels that protect our environment and the climate. Through our programmes for maritime research and innovation, we will continue to support German shipbuilders as they pursue this goal, build on their position as international frontrunners in this technology, and safeguard jobs.”

Sustainable maritime transports is one of the key objectives underpinning the Federal Government’s Maritime Agenda 2025. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy creates momentum for this by providing funding for maritime research, development, and innovation. Under its Maritime Research Programme, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy provided some €1.6 million in funding for two projects between 2009 and 2013, both of which have made a significant contribution to the design of the international rulebook on LNG technologies in maritime shipping. Two thirds of the funding for the innovation costs incurred by MEYER-Werft for the development of the LNG-powered propulsion system for AIDAnova came from the Federation, another third (€7.8 million) from the ‘Innovative Shipbuilding to safeguard competitive jobs’ programme of the State of Lower Saxony.

Unlike oil-based shipping fuels, LNG does not create sulphur oxide emissions. NOx emissions can be reduced by up to 80% and particulate matter emissions by approx. 98%, and the level of greenhouse gas emissions is 20-25% lower.

Additional information about the targets and about funding provided by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy:

In April 2018, the International Maritime Organization decided that greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transport are to be reduced by at least half by 2050, compared to the levels of 2008. The Federal Government takes the view that this can be achieved using a mix of technologies delivering both efficient propulsion and lower greenhouse gas emissions from shipping fuels. LNG-based propulsion marks a first step into this direction. Ultimately, we must aim for zero-emissions vessels.

This is why the Federal Government has made Maritime. Green propulsion the focus of its next Maritime Research Programme starting in 2019. Under the next programme, funding will be channelled towards programmes centring on the development of zero-emissions eFuels. eFuels are synthetic fuels created by converting electricity from renewables into fuel (power-to-fuel).

The ‘Energy in Transport’ funding initiative, which was launched by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and has a volume of €130 million also wants to promote alternative, electricity-based fuels and help these new technologies find their place in the energy industry. One of the collaborative research projects receiving funding under the initiative centres on the production and use of methane-based marine fuels.