Wednesday, July 3, 2019

New LNG Powered Bulk Carrier Unveiled as Liquefied Biogas Project Gets Under Way

Emission Reduction at the Heart of Road, Rail and Ocean Shipping Advances
Shipping News Feature
NORWAY – FINLAND – JAPAN – Technology group Wärtsilä, Japanese ship builder Oshima Shipbuilding, and the classification society DNV GL have delivered the first results of their joint industry development project. At the recent Nor-Shipping exhibition held in Norway, the project partners announced a next-generation 62,000 dwt Ultramax Bulk Carrier design that is optimised according to actual operating profiles, and that will meet the 2030 emissions legislation utilising everything from LNG through solar panels and Flettner hard sail type technology.

The project partners claim that the design demonstrates that emission levels from conventional merchant vessels can be significantly reduced in line with International Maritime Organization (IMO) targets. Trond Hodne, Director of Sales & Marketing at DNV GL, said:

“To help the industry meet the ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets set by the IMO, the industry needs to come together to advance ship design. This design halves the EEDI (Energy Efficiency Design Index) of comparable vessels, and sets a new standard for low emission bulk carriers.”

The project goals included the achievement of low emission levels, both at sea and in port, the fulfilment of the IMO’s requirements to reduce CO2 emissions per ship’s capacity-mile by at least 40% by 2030, and zero emissions during waiting time. A further aim of the project has been to create a new standard that maximises the return on investment for the owner. A key objective was to minimise GHG emissions through the application of currently available technologies.

The high efficiency of the propulsion solution reduces the EEDI by 50% compared to standard vessels of this size and type. The EEDI provides a specific figure for an individual ship design, expressed in grams of carbon dioxide per ship's capacity-mile. Stein Thorsager, Director, Merchant and Gas Carrier, Wärtsilä Marine, commented:

“Our smart marine initiative emphasises collaboration between the various stakeholders, and this project is a prime example of how effective such collaboration can be. The design is based on actual operating profile data from Ultramax bulk carriers and it incorporates an LNG-fuelled Wärtsilä 31DF dual-fuel main engine connected to a power take out (PTO) shaft generator and controllable pitch propeller (CPP), and the result out-performs all existing designs in terms of efficiency and sustainability.”

Other benefits include the ability to operate in an environmental mode while in port through the main use of solar panels, the installation of an LNG tank that is dimensioned based on the capacity needed for the operating profiles and the availability of LNG bunkering infrastructure, an optimised hull shape, and the option to also install a hard sail to generate extra propulsion. The hard sail system is being developed jointly by Oshima Shipbuilding and Mitsui OSK Lines. Eiichi Hiraga, President at Oshima Shipbuilding, said:

“Greater efficiency and better environmental performance has been made possible through collaboration with Wärtsilä and DNV GL. Oshima alone could not have come up with this new innovative design, which includes optimised propulsion, energy storage and solar panels. It represents a future proof solution that will enable bulk carrier owners to comply with legislation while also lowering operating costs.”

The need to cut harmful emissions seems to be a major driver for Finnish group Wärtsilä which announced this week it had formed Wärtsilä Biogas Solutions after merging its Puregas Solutions biogas upgrade team with its liquefaction team, a unit with expert capabilities in liquefying upgraded biogas for end-customer use. The result is that Wärtsilä Biogas Solutions will now be better able to offer customers a one-stop-shop service for advanced biofuel production.

The market for advanced biofuels is growing in line with efforts regarding the reduction of fossil fuels. The European Union, for example, under its RED II directive, has directed that by 2030, member states must require fuel suppliers to supply a minimum of 14% of fuel consumption in road and rail transportation from renewable sources. Additionally, in both Europe and the USA, efforts are being made to de-carbonise the natural gas grid.

Wärtsilä’s biogas technology supports this trend by removing carbon from the waste cycle, thereby lowering greenhouse gas effects and reducing the level of carbon intensity. Furthermore, fossil driven natural gas grids may see an expansion towards transporting bio-related gases, such as biomethane or even synthetic methane, in the near future. Arne Jakobsen, General Manager, Wärtsilä Biogas Solutions, said:

“Wärtsilä Biogas Solutions offers products for biogas upgrading to biomethane, and the liquefaction of biomethane into bioLNG. Currently, our market share in this field is almost 60%, and we expect this to continue to grow as we further develop our capabilities.”

Wärtsilä has earlier provided the turnkey installation for the world’s largest bioLNG facility located in Skogn, Norway and will, by the end of the year, deliver two more bio-LNG plants to customers in Scandinavia. Interest from both the European and North American markets is high, and Wärtsilä anticipates continued strong growth in this sector.

Wärtsilä’s biogas upgrading plants utilise its in-house Puregas CA technology, a process that recovers more than 99.9% of the biomethane present in raw biogas. The process separates the CO2 from the biogas through chemical adsorption. The process is highly tolerant of variations in the raw gas composition resulting from changes in the feedstock.

Wärtsilä Biogas Solutions supports the company’s vision for a 100% renewables future. The energy sector is undergoing a transformation towards the integration of increasing levels of power from renewable sources, and Wärtsilä says its development activities are focused on providing flexible solutions that speed and enable this transformation.

Photo: Skogn, Norway bioLNG facility.