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From his seat at the controls of the Mastrafjord ferry boat, captain Tron Erling Vikeron looks out across the choppy waters north of Stavanger, Norway. He is on one of many daily crossings carrying cars, trucks and passengers on one of the country’s busiest ferry routes.

In a region renowned for its natural beauty, his ferry is doing its small part to reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide and some other pollutants. The Mastrafjord’s big engines use liquefied natural gas, or LNG.

The ferry is one of several dozen LNG-powered ships plying the coastal waters off Norway. They are part of a growing wave of the future; a wave driven partly by emissions regulations coming into force in the next few years.

The rules will require vessels in the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe and off the coasts of North America to significantly reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide and other pollutants. Ship owners have several options to meet the new standards. One is to use low-sulphur fuel and add emission control equipment to traditional engines. Another is to adopt LNG as a cleaner-burning alternative.