Golar LNG Goes Green

August 31, 2023

INTERNATIONAL WATERS  — The maritime industry faces significant challenges in the disposal of food waste in a proper environmental manner, especially in waters near coastal communities. Recognizing these challenges, the owners and captain of the Golar Freeze, a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit vessel (FSRU), stationed in Jamaica in 2019, took a proactive step towards sustainable waste management. They invested in the LFC biodigester, an innovative onboard food waste solution that employs aerobic digestion to efficiently break down waste. The success of the LFC biodigester as a food waste management system has resulted in subsequent adoption on other LNG carriers: the Golar Penguin and the Golar Celsius.

Image from Golar LNG

Addressing the Environmental Challenges of Food Waste Disposal

The Golar Freeze’s presence in Jamaican waters highlighted the pressing issue of proper disposal of food waste at sea. Traditional methods of waste storage and transportation ashore were not only cumbersome but also environmentally unsustainable. The LFC biodigester offered a promising solution, enabling the crew to convert food waste into grey water through aerobic digestion. This odorless and continuous process significantly reduced the vessel’s environmental impact and allowed for the disposal of food waste at any time.

Expansion of LFC biodigester to Golar Penguin and Golar Celsius

Building on the success of the LFC biodigester on the Golar Freeze, the owners recognized its potential benefits for other LNG carriers within their fleet. The Golar Penguin and Golar Celsius, both LNG carriers in their fleet, also faced similar challenges of food waste disposal. Consequently, both vessels followed the lead of the Golar Freeze and installed an LFC-50 biodigester on board.

The Advantages of LFC biodigester

The decision to install LFC-50 biodigesters on Golar Penguin and Golar Celsius provided several advantages. Firstly, it presented an eco-friendly solution that contributed to the preservation of marine ecosystems and reduced the vessels’ environmental footprint. Secondly, the LFC biodigester’s continuous operation and absence of odors improved crew comfort and convenience during waste disposal. Additionally, the adoption of the biodigester aligned the vessels with international regulations and mandates, such as those set forth by the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships (MARPOL) and the US Department of Justice. 

The adoption of LFC biodigesters can also result in a unique advantage: reclamation of deck space. LFC biodigesters take up substantially less space than antiquated food pulper systems and storage tanks.

Economic Benefits and Long term Sustainability

Apart from the environmental benefits, the LFC-50 biodigesters have also demonstrated economic advantages for the vessel owners. By eliminating the need for frequent food waste transportation ashore, the biodigesters reduce operational costs associated with waste disposal. Furthermore, the long-term sustainability of the LFC biodigesters ensured that the vessels could comply with stricter regulations in various regions where disposal regulations were more stringent.

The case study of the Golar Freeze, Golar Penguin, and Golar Celsius showcases the significance of adopting sustainable food waste management solutions in the maritime industry. The successful implementation of the LFC-50 biodigesters on these LNG carriers demonstrates their commitment to environmental responsibility, compliance with international regulations, and the pursuit of cost-effective waste management practices. As these vessels continue their operations, their investment in the LFC biodigesters sets a positive example for the entire maritime community, encouraging the adoption of eco-friendly technologies and practices to protect the oceans and coastal communities for generations to come.