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Forming a figurehead for change

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LNG Industry,

Three of the marine sector’s major technology companies, WinGD, Wärtsilä and GTT, have agreed to collaborate in making the use of LNG fuel a truly viable option for ship owners and operators.

The transition from diesel to LNG as a marine fuel has been underway for some 20 years already. The change began when, in the early 1990s, Wärtsilä introduced the first dual-fuel engines capable of running on both conventional liquid fuels as well as LNG. While this had an immediate impact on certain sectors of the shipping industry, most notably LNG carrier vessels, the subsequent switch to LNG fuel has been, for the most part, slow and steady rather than dramatic.

However, as the LNG bunkering infrastructure becomes ever more developed, and as increasingly stringent environmental legislation is causing decisions on compliance to be made, there are clear signs that attitudes are changing, with more and more owners of a variety of vessel types opting for the benefits that LNG fuel offers. The collaboration agreement between these three companies is aimed, therefore, at delivering a streamlined approach for achieving compliance with regulations. Their joint leadership can also help break down the conservative barriers that have, until recently, been a significant obstacle in the adoption of a cleaner, but very different, type of fuel.

An historic order

The catalyst for this agreement was an historic order placed in 2017 for the first ever ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) to be fuelled by LNG. The nine vessels, each with a record capacity of 22 000 TEU, were ordered by CMA CGM, the France-based global shipping group, and are currently being built at shipyards in China.

For these ships, GTT, an engineering company specialising in containment systems with cryogenic membranes used to transport and store liquefied gas, was chosen to design and supply the LNG tanks. These tanks, which will be capable of holding 18 600 m³ of LNG fuel per ship, have been designed to optimise the available space to allow maximum use of the ships’ cargo capacity.

For the fuel gas supply system, Wärtsilä’s innovative LNGPacTM, which is compatible with GTT’s membrane tank technologies, was selected. This system is customised to the needs of each individual project in order to match the operational, safety and classification requirements. It is designed to ensure the correct gas temperature and pressure for the engine. Wärtsilä will also supply six Wärtsilä 34DF auxiliary engines and the propulsion control system for each vessel.

The main engines are being provided by Switzerland-based WinGD, a developer of two-stroke gas and diesel engines for marine propulsion. The 12-cylinder X92DF dual-fuel engines, when running on LNG, comply with limits on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions when operating in Emission Control Areas (ECAs) imposed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and with the 0.5% limit on the sulfur (SOx) content of marine fuel that comes into effect in 2020. Limits on emissions of particulate matter are also met.

This is an abridged version of an article written by Frank Harteveld, Wärtsila Gas Solutions, Julien Bec, GTT, and Rolf Stiefel, WinGD, for the January 2019 issue of LNG Industry. To read the full version, click here.

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