South Korean shipbuilder does away with seawater, increasing efficiency and reducing the risk of corrosion
South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has independently developed an advanced LNG regasification system using glycol, which it claims will further improve its competitiveness in the LNG shipbuilding market. HHI said on March 31 that it had held a demonstration ceremony at its Ulsan shipyard for the installation of the regas system in a 170,000 cubic metre floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) under construction, in an event attended by Korean and foreign ship-owners and ship classification companies.
HHI said the new regasification system would increase the efficiency and safety of FSRUs that receive LNG from offloading carriers and send vaporised gas by pipeline to onshore receiving facilities.
In the past, seawater and propane gas were used to heat LNG. However, the new technology is an indirect heating LNG regasification system using glycol, a type of alcohol which is used as a material in synthetic fibres and anti-freeze, and has a lower solidifying point as the heating medium.
“Since the glycol regasification process is free from saltiness unlike a system that uses seawater, it can minimise corrosion in major equipment including heat exchangers, and it can also lower the risk of explosion that a system using propane may be exposed to,” HHI said in a statement.
The company secured an approval in principle (AIP) for its regasification system from Lloyd’s Register in February and is also seeking to receive class AIP from global leading shipbuilders, in addition to applying for a patent at home and abroad.
HHI said the first LNG-FSRU equipped with the new regasification system would be delivered in early 2019. HHI delivered the world’s first newbuild LNG FSRU to Norway’s Hoegh LNG back in 2014. It also claims to be the only Korean shipbuilder that can both build membrane and moss-type LNG carriers.
New orders The new regasification process marks the latest in a string of LNG-based innovations HHI is developing. Last month, the shipbuilder signed a contract with Sovcomflot for the construction of the first LNG-burning Aframax crude tankers ever to be built. The US$240 million order covers the construction of four 114,000 dwt Ice Class 1A. The first of the 250-metre vessels will be delivered in the third quarter of 2018 and will be chartered to Royal Dutch Shell, whose Western LNG unit will also supply them with bunkered LNG fuel via two supply points in Rotterdam and the Baltics.
In another recent project, HHI, Lloyd’s Register and the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) have signed a joint development project (JDP) for a ship-to-ship LNG bunkering compatibility study.
There are currently no guidelines for the design or practice of safe ship-to-ship LNG bunkering, despite its effectiveness for both ship and port operators. The programme will therefore review the design requirements between 6.6-tonne LNG bunkering ships and 14-tonne TEU LNG-fuelled container ships, with the aim of verifying best practices. The study will then “evaluate the right direction for LNG supply infrastructure.”