The maritime liquefied natural gas (LNG) market has long been faced with a conundrum about supply and demand. Shipowners have been reluctant to make the switch to LNG because of the lack of bunkering infrastructure. At the same time, the development of bunker infrastructure has been slow to get off the ground because of low demand from the market. This has been described on numerous occasions as a ‘chicken and egg’ situation.
However, the outlook for the LNG market is changing. This can be put down to a number of factors. First, according to Bastiaan Schurink, Damen Shipyards Bergum’s design and proposal marketeer, there is a continued focus on tightening exhaust emissions.
“Emissions regulations are getting tighter every day. Ships need to reduce their emissions, and one way to do that is by using LNG.” Indeed, following the establishment of emission control areas (ECAs), shipowners are looking for solutions to meet the requirements of new legislation. “Of course there are other ways, but LNG is a preferred method to reduce not only SOx and NOx, but also a substantial volume of CO2 emissions.”
“Another important point is that the subject of LNG is becoming more and more of interest, both commercially and politically,” explains Mr Schurink. “There is a growing number of European LNG bunkering projects that have been initiated by well-known oil and gas majors. EU funding is also making its presence felt.”
In response to these developments, Damen is promoting its range of liquefied gas carriers. Richard Nugteren, Damen’s cargo vessels product director, explains: “These vessels will be capable of transporting all types of liquefied gases – LPG [liquefied petroleum gas] and VCM [vinyl chloride monomer] in addition to LNG, for example. They will also exhibit a wide range of cargo capacities, including 500m3, 1,500m3, 3,000m3, 5,000m3, 6,500m3 and 7,500m3.”
Damen’s liquefied gas carrier designs draw on a number of tried and tested characteristics. “For example, they are designed with proven hullforms,” says Mr Nugteren. “Focused on efficient hydrodynamics, this results in minimal resistance during sailing which, in turn, minimises fuel consumption.”
Fitted out to the highest levels of comfort, accommodation areas can be designed to considerably reduce sound and vibration levels.
With regard to cargo, Damen’s designs use industry-recognised tank layouts provided by suppliers specialising in cryogenic gas handling systems and tanks. Vaporised LNG can also be used for propulsion or auxiliary engines.
“At the moment this is a small niche market, but it is up and coming,” continues Mr Schurink. “The European market is getting the ball rolling, and we expect these developments to continue in other regions too.”
“For example, the North American market is paying more attention to emissions. And the feeder markets in Indonesia and the Mediterranean are also interesting. We have designs and specs available. All in all, we are ready to build these vessels.”
Moss-type LNG carriers highlight green technology
MISC Berhad has taken delivery of its new liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier Seri Cenderawasih. The 150,200m3 LNG carrier is the second in a series of five Moss type LNG carriers ordered from Hyundai Heavy Industries. On delivery, these new LNG carriers will be on a long-term charter to Malaysia’s Petronas.
Seri Cenderawasih, along with its sister vessel Seri Camellia which was launched in September last year, will be part of the new generation of the Seri C class LNG fleet of Moss type vessels.
The newbuilds are part of MISC’s long-term fleet expansion programme to cater for the energy transportation needs of Petronas. They have been designed for worldwide trading capability to enable them to call at all major LNG terminals around the world. These new vessels provide a more robust and superior cargo containment system and ensure a higher degree of operational flexibility for MISC to operate in harsh meteorological conditions.
The new generation of LNG carriers incorporate state-of-the-art technologies in various forms, including the integrated hull structure with four spherical tanks shielded by the continuous cover, which improves the overall structural strength of the hull.
Additional green technology features adopted for these new carriers include energy efficiency, emissions reductions, biodiversity management and end-of-life disposal. These features also include the installation of a selective catalytic reduction system for the diesel generator to comply with the latest IMO Tier III requirements and an ozone ballast water treatment system. The carriers will be powered by a Mitsubishi Ultra Stream Turbine plant, and installed with a pre-swirl duct and a propeller boss cap fin.
Teekay makes maintenance deal with MAN PrimeServ
MAN PrimeServ, the after-sales division of MAN Diesel & Turbo, has signed a maintenance contract with Teekay Shipping, one of the world’s largest marine energy transportation, storage and production companies.
The new Engine Management Concept (EMC) contract is for the maintenance of Oak Spirit, Creole Spirit and Torben Spirit, sisters from Teekay’s 173,400m3 liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier series. The agreement covers the provision of spare parts, maintenance management and the servicing of each vessel’s two MAN B&W 5G70ME-GI gas injection, dual-fuel main engines.
Jeffrey Ang, MAN Diesel & Turbo head of CoC for engines and marine systems, Asia Pacific, said: “This agreement is significant in that it is the first market agreement that MAN PrimeServ has clinched involving our dual-fuel, two-stroke ME-GI engines. Furthermore, with Teekay nominating us as its preferred service provider, this contract will undoubtedly add momentum to our efforts to expand the EMC’s reach within the gas engine segment.”
According to the terms of the contract, MAN Diesel & Turbo in Copenhagen will deliver maintenance management and spare parts, while MAN Diesel & Turbo in Shanghai will take care of service for the engines.
Jens Seeberg, head of retrofit and upgrades and EMC, praised the co-operation between the two geographically diverse PrimeServ entities that facilitated the drawing up of the final agreement. He called the close relationship between the locations in PrimeServ’s global organisation and its headquarters “an essential prerequisite for the success of the EMC concept.”
The EMC is a tailor-made service model that is customised to suit each customer’s particular requirements. Operating on a fixed budget, MAN PrimeServ takes care of equipment, planned and unplanned maintenance, the dispatching of personnel, and the provision of spare parts – all obvious tasks for the engine designer.
MAN Diesel & Turbo describes the adoption of the EMC by the shipping industry as a paradigm change within maintenance, as shipowners have traditionally taken care of maintenance themselves. The close co-operation within MAN PrimeServ’s global network means that it can pool resources and exchange knowledge, and is able to offer customers a considerably higher level of service than individual PrimeServ hubs would otherwise be able to.
CNdM signs LNG cargo-tank repair deal with Europe Technologies
French shipyard Chantier Naval de Marseille (CNdM) has signed a memorandum with the liquefied natural gas (LNG) division of Europe Technologies to develop and market membrane cargo tank-repair services for LNG carriers, floating storage and regasification units and, in future, other ship types that use natural gas propulsion.
The two companies will promote the CNdM shipyard for drydock surveys for these ship types, building on the dock’s strategic Mediterranean location and on Europe Technologies’ experience in carrying out these repairs.
Europe Technologies has a technical service agreement with market-leading membrane containment system manufacturer Gaztransport & Technigaz. It will supply the material, tools and equipment to the new partnership.
Last year it signed a similar partnership with Shipbuilding and Repair Development Co of Trinidad & Tobago.
CNdM carries out occasional LNG carrier repairs but wants to grow this business. It is part of Holding Genova Industrie Navali. Its base at Marseille handles shiprepairs and conversions.
The shipyard said in a statement: “CNdM aims to boost its market share in the LNG tanker specialist market. We have the certification and trained staff to operate on these vessels.”
Switch on to carrier market
The Switch sees demand for its advanced drive train technology, both for LNG-carrier newbuildings and for LNG-fuelled tonnage
Owned since 2014 by Japan-based Yaskawa Electric Corp, The Switch is a leading player in advanced drive train technology, with an installed base of more than 13GW of megawatt class permanent magnet (PM) machine and converter packages.
The Switch has stepped up its efforts to win marine business in general since being taken over by the €3.3 billion turnover Yaskawa, then having bought out Wärtsilä’s power drives product portfolio in Norway in November last year.
The company specialises in megawatt class variable speed drives and PM technology. It has unveiled a business development plan to grow its marine-related business by 200 per cent over the next five years.
PM machines manufactured by The Switch convert energy from a mechanical form to electrical and vice versa. The company’s PM shaft generators convert energy from mechanical to electrical for hotel power and heavy consumers.
When using pumps or propellers, the change of form goes from electrical to mechanical. In both cases, The Switch says, its technology provides smooth conversion.
The Switch also distributes the energy created in the most cost-efficient way – for example, through the use of DC hubs. During distribution, it also stores energy to ensure smooth loading or peak shaving, balancing and maximising power resources.
The Switch PM shaft generators aim to create cost-effective electricity and to save fuel. The systems also aim to improve efficiency, as the designs are modular, flexible and lightweight. The Switch claims that its systems can help large merchant vessels, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, to consume less energy during slow steaming.
Its frequency converters aim to deliver reliable speed control with PM machines. They are well suited for vessels that operate in diverse environments and at different speeds – including LNG-powered ferries, cruise ships, ice breakers and tugs – to meet the demands of modern, flexible power production and consumption.
Having entered the marine market in 2013, by January 2017 The Switch had received nearly 30 orders for its PM shaft generator technology through WE Tech Solutions, its Finland-based solutions provider and business development partner.
“We entered the marine market four years ago,” said The Switch business development manager Mika Koli. “We saw potential to transfer our competency and the benefits that our technology can deliver to a sector facing challenges with regard to operational costs, falling profit margins and increasing environmental impact and regulations.
“Our products address all these issues. With this in mind, we believe we can make a real difference in marine, championing enhanced efficiency, the environment and our customers’ competitiveness. We see this as the beginning of a new energy era.”
In April last year, Saga LNG Shipping ordered a PM shaft generator for the 45,000m³ LNG carrier newbuilding it has ordered from China Merchants Heavy Industries (Jiangsu) Co. Norway based, Singapore-owned Saga LNG Shipping will take delivery of the newbuilding in the first quarter of next year.
The order is part of a complete energy-efficiency solution from Finland-based WE Tech and includes the PM shaft generator technology from The Switch. The order also contains the option to build a second system, if Saga LNG Shipping exercises its option with the shipyard.
The PM technology-based system will help the mid-sized LNG carrier to improve its efficiency, no matter what speeds it sails at. That flexibility may be crucial, as the vessel has yet to be chartered.
The WE Tech drive active front-end low harmonic drive technology enables The Switch’s PM shaft generator to operate over the full range of main engine speeds and to generate electricity for the ship’s networks as efficiently as possible. That offers a particular advantage for electrical part-loads, which is the normal electrical load condition on a ship.
WE Tech will also supply an efficient power distribution solution to provide the vessel’s electrical network with up to 1,200kW in power take-out (PTO) mode. The high-speed PMM 500 shaft generator will connect to the PTO shaft of the reduction gear in the propulsion line.
The Switch offers PMM 500 shaft generators across the 0.5MW-4MW power range, at speeds of up to 2,000 rpm for optimum flexibility.
Harris Pye to convert carriers to LSDO
At the end of 2016, the Harris Pye Engineering Group announced that it had been awarded a contract by a prominent Chinese liquefied natural gas (LNG) company to convert six vessels to low sulphur diesel oil (LSDO), with an option for conversions on further vessels to follow. The group has undertaken work, predominantly on main and auxiliary boiler plants, on more than 75 vessels around the world, including some 30 LNG carrier main boiler plants on behalf of more than a dozen clients, offering the conversion as a turnkey package.
“We are particularly active in the crucial area of LSDO conversions as required by Marpol Annex VI, which sets limits on NOx and SOx emissions from ship exhausts,” explained Chris David, Harris Pye’s chief technical officer.
“After the initial push for vessels to be compliant for US and European emission control areas [ECAs] the new ECAs in China, which came into effect late in 2015, have resulted in an influx of enquiries and orders. While the sulphur limit in the Chinese ECAs is at the 0.5 per cent mark at present, potential shortages of compliant heavy fuels, and the option to lower the limit to 0.1 per cent sulphur by the ports, means that converting the vessels to operate on LSDO will ensure a ready fuel supply and future-proof them against stricter emission limits.”
When undertaking conversions of this kind Harris Pye takes care of class submissions, carries out a complete survey, undertakes the full design with the assistance of the client and of class, and fabricates and installs, whether at sea, in drydock, or a combination of both.