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SEVERAL companies, including shipping line CMA CGM, have joined together to study the feasibility of creating France’s first production unit for liquified biomethane (BioLNG).

BioLNG is made by converting the biodegradable part of household waste. It can be a low-carbon alternative fuel that may help the shipping industry decarbonise.

The feasibility study is looking into the possibility of converting household waste from the Marseille Provence. This would allow for the decarbonisation of shipping services departing from the Grand Port Maritime in Marseille. The fuel would be used primarily by CMA CGM’s LNG-powered vessels.

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The project will form a circular economic system. Using the area’s household waste will help reduce local air pollutants (nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and fine particles). This will improve air quality and quality of life for people living in the region and support the energy transition in the shipping industry.

BioLNG, combined with the dual-fuel gas engine technology developed by CMA CGM, reduces greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon dioxide) by at least 67% relative to well-to-wake VLSFO (the complete value chain). On the basis of a tank-to-wake measurement (at vessel level), greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 88%.

Liquefied natural gas allows for a 99% reduction in sulphur oxide emissions, a 91% reduction in fine particles emissions and a 92% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions. By the end of 2024, CMA CGM said 44 of its vessels will be powered by LNG.

The project fits perfectly into the local ecosystem, benefiting from the particularly well-suited and already existing infrastructure at the Grand Port Maritime, including EveRé’s waste methanisation unit, Elengy’s LNG terminals, which will be used for the storage and delivery of the BioLNG, TotalEnergies’ bunker vessel, which will be located at the port as of January next year, and CMA CGM’s fleet of LNG-powered vessels. The feasibility study was launched within the framework of this large-scale project, which corresponds with the national drive to promote BioLNG as defined in France’s Mobility Orientation Law.

The CMA CGM Group, Engie and TotalEnergies have already been working together for several months as part of the Coalition for the Energy of the Future, which aims to step up the pace of development of future energy sources and technologies and to support new sustainable mobility models, thereby reducing the environmental impact of transportation and logistics.

In order to make true technological revolutions possible and achieve tangible results by 2030, the Coalition has set three main targets:

  • to considerably increase clean energy supply sources;
  • to reduce energy consumption per equivalent kilometre transported; and
  • to reduce the proportion of emissions attributable to transportation and logistics.

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