This week’s briefs

There are some interesting news briefs this week.

• Will the shipping industry switch to LNG?

Processing Magazine raises about the possible use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the shipping industry.

With increased regulation of emissions, the shipping industry represents a promising new market for LNG and there is industry support for such a transition. However, cost remains a major barrier, according to a study by the European Commission.

The European Union’s executive body found that stakeholders recognize the environmental advantages of LNG as a shipping fuel, but are still uncertain whether there is a clear business case for switching to the cleaner fuel.

“This study gives us a solid overview of the opportunities and remaining challenges for the use of LNG for shipping. More importantly: the outcome helps us to feed a public debate on LNG for shipping and provides arguments for a stakeholder debate at local level,” commented Sandro Santamato, head of unit for Maritime Transport & Logistics at the European Commission.

According to the Commission, the major motivation for stakeholders to switch to LNG as a shipping fuel is to be compliant with ‘Emission Controlled Area’ (ECA) zone requirements and the related positive environmental effects. But companies also have to take into account the financing of LNG as a fuel and the pricing of LNG itself.

The study found that for many companies, and especially shippers, LNG does not yet offer a profitable business model because the higher equipment costs for engines and tanks are not offset by savings in fuel or operating expenses. Another significant barrier is the lack of existing bunkering infrastructure for LNG.

Recent E.U. legislation aims to promote the use of LNG in the shipping industry.

Firstly, the Directive on sulfur content in marine fuels (2012/33/EU) allows the use of LNG as an alternative fuel to comply with more stringent emission standards. Revised rules that came into force at the start of this year require ships in the Baltic, North Sea and the English Channel to use fuels with no more than 0.1 percent sulfur content, according to environmental news service ENDS Europe.

Secondly, the Directive on Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (2014/94/EU) aims to ensure minimum coverage of LNG refuelling points in the main maritime and inland ports across Europe by 2025 and 2030 respectively, with common standards for their design and use.


• New report on LEDs

The market of LED lamps in Europe is moving much faster than was previously expected. LED “clear incandescent look-alikes” are several years ahead of price and performance projections, and an updated report reflecting 1000-hour tests confirm that quality of the new products is acceptable. The updated report also provides a detailed discussion of LightingEurope’s critique of the original November report.

The original November study–by the Swedish Energy Agency, the Belgian government, CLASP’s European Programme and eceee–was undertaken because new LED lamps have been introduced into the European market at low prices and with claims of very high performance levels. (see article covering the original November report). The updated report provides test results on the samples following 1000 hours of use.

“The findings of our original report still hold true” said Nils Borg, eceee’s Executive Director. “LED products are introduced into the European market at much lower prices and much better performance levels than the European Commission anticipated in June 2013. We see that approximately 50% of the LED lamps purchased and tested for this study already exceed the 2016 price and performance levels that were anticipated by the Commission, and one model available on the European market in 2014 already exceeds the anticipated 2018 level on efficacy and the 2020 level on price.”

The report is available here.


• New BPIE report on indoor air quality

This report about IAQ, thermal comfort and daylight requirements in selected MS addresses a range of topics increasingly important for European buildings and their inhabitants.

The overall aim of the report is to provide an overview of the regulatory framework for IAQ, thermal comfort and daylight, and to highlight the importance of having appropriate requirements for thermal comfort, ventilation and daylight conditions. The report provides concluding recommendations for further policy development relevant for indoor climate.

Between 30 to 50% of excess winter deaths can be attributed to cold indoor temperatures, demonstrating the importance of thermal comfort and its link to fuel poverty . Key aspects to ensure good conditions for building occupants include thermal comfort, indoor air quality and daylight. Despite these links, the requirements for indoor air quality and thermal comfort are not comprehensive and clear enough in the eight surveyed countries. BPIE identified gaps in regulation to ensure that European citizens live in highly efficient, healthy, comfortable and well-lit buildings. Considering that people spend 60 to 90% of their life in buildings, the subject should get a prominent space in legislation.

At the EU level, while indoor climate is mentioned in the EPBD, the importance of indoor air quality, thermal comfort and daylight has to be strengthened in a future recast. These aspects could be integrated in the Energy Performance Certification process as relevant information of the actual living conditions in the building. The co-benefits of thermal comfort and a healthy indoor environment should be taken into account when assessing the macroeconomic impact of energy renovation measures (e.g. reduction of health service costs). Such requirements should also be reflected in national renovation strategies as developed under articles 4 and 5 of the Energy Efficiency Directive.

The report is available on the BPIE website.


• eceee summer study – First Fuel Now

n 2013, the International Energy Agency (IEA) dubbed energy efficiency the world’s First Fuel. Global energy saving investments – and their effects on energy demand – are now equal to the net contribution of other fuel sources, the IEA said, and valued worldwide energy efficiency investments in 2011 at $300 billion (€221bn), a level on a par with global funding of renewable energy and fossil fuel power sources.

Energy efficiency is thus already a fundamental component of our energy and environment policies. Cutting energy demand reduces greenhouse gas emissions in a more cost-effective way than any other energy policy. Massive investments in energy efficiency will create jobs, make Europe more resilient and productive and improve our energy security. But energy efficiency still does not get the recognition from policy makers that it deserves.

The European Energy Efficiency Directive is an important step forward for Europe. The current 2030 policy framework discussions will shape our energy future for years to come. COP 21 in Paris 2015 is another key event that will shape our future.

This is exciting times and the papers presented at the Summer Study will help define how we can make energy efficiency truly recognised as the first fuel.

Information about the Summer Study is available on the eceee website.


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