Chart Industries explores how the demands of the marine industry are influencing the design and innovation behind its LNG systems
Ready or not, the marine industry is decarbonising. In the wake of the COP21 agreement and growing commitments from global leaders and regulatory bodies, regulations on marine pollution are only likely to become more stringent, and deadlines are already approaching. Under MARPOL Annex VI, for example, the global cap for vessel sulphur emissions will be lowered from the current 3.50% to 0.50% from January 2020. As a result, the industry is looking to technology and cleaner fuels to ensure compliance.
For many operators, LNG-fuelled vessels are the natural choice. A relative abundance of feedstock, cost efficiency and flexibility, in addition to reduced SOx and NOx emissions, are driving the change. By 2020, DNV GL expects several hundred vessels to be running on LNG (excluding LNG carrier vessels).
Global cryogenic engineering and supply company Chart Industries is enabling these changes first-hand, throughout all aspects of the LNG supply chain. “We expect LNG will take a predominant place during the coming decades in the marine fuel mix. Apart from fuel pricing and emission aspects, there are many other advantages of running on gas, which the majority of ship-owners/operators are still unaware of today. Think about engine room operations, maintenance logistics, crew comfort and health,” Joris van Kreij, responsible for global business development for Marine LNG Solutions at Chart, told InnovOil.
As one of the largest single-source LNG equipment and solutions providers, its services cover liquefaction, distribution, storage and end-use, and the company has undertaken a number of innovative marine-based LNG projects.
World-firsts One project, finalised in 2012, involved the design and manufacture of a first-of-its-kind LNG fuel system for the Francisco, a high-speed catamaran ferry in Argentina. Touted by designer and builder Incat to be the “fastest ferry in the world” the flex-fuel Francisco is capable of carrying 1,000 passengers and 150 cars, and will manage 50 knots when fully laden, taking just over 2 hours to make trips between Buenos Aires and Montevideo. It was the first ferry built according to High Speed Craft (HSC) Code for LNG-fuelled turbines.
Chart’s innovations are concealed in the vessel’s twin hulls. Two General Electric LM2500 gas turbines are powered by twin 43 cubic metre, DNV-approved cryogenic tanks, which were engineered and manufactured in Chart’s Decin facility in the Czech Republic. These identical fuelling systems can operate independently, and heat recovered from the turbine exhaust gas is re-used to evaporate LNG. The system includes a pump, vaporiser, valves, instrumentation, engine feed line, water/glycol heating circuit, bunkering lines, controls and a nitrogen system.
Because size, weight and safety were fundamental to the project, Chart applied unconventional features like a low pressure lightweight tank using super insulation along with an integrated stainless steel ‘cold box’, engineered to house the control system, cryogenic pump and vaporisation system.
The company has also been involved in innovative bunkering and LNG-to-power projects. A recent contract in Germany required Chart to build an LNG fuelling system for Hummel, a hybrid power plant barge which provides energy to ships during layovers in the port of Hamburg. Hummel also supplies electricity and heat to the port’s container terminal during winter.
Chart supplied shipbuilder Becker Marine Systems with storage tanks, featuring Chart Vacuum Technology®, capable of holding up to 43 cubic metres – the maximum payload available for the container size – eliminating the need for a fixed tank with a separate bunkering station (although the system retains the option to use bunkers for filling).
The fully modular fuelling system is housed in two 40-foot ISO containers, and includes a skid-mounted gas processing unit, interconnecting pipe work, control and safety appliances. The system provides cryogenic storage for almost 23,000 gallons (105 cubic metres) of LNG, and is capable of powering up to seven 1,555-kW CAT3516 generators.
The company continues to work on pioneering projects throughout the sector. “We innovate purely based on what we see that customers are worried about. While ship-owners want reliability and low maintenance, shipyards typically aim for economical solutions with smart ways to reduce costs,” van Kreij added. To see how Chart could provide innovation and expertise on your LNG project, contact the company via the information below.