Conference looks at LNG experience
At the 2014 Motorship Gas Fuelled Ships conference in Stavanger, the actual existing and future technology of LNG fuelled ship propulsion was the theme of the first actual conference session following the keynotes.
First speaker was Ivan Bach, commercial marine sales manager of GE Marine, who described the first LNG-fuelled gas turbine fast ferry, the Incat-built Francisco, operated by Buquebus in South America. The benefits of dual-fuel gas turbine power include: low emissions, availability thanks to simple engine changeover, high power density, no methane slip, support network, and fuel flexibility with simple changeover from oil to gas. In this case, the operator has set up its own small-scale LNG infrastructure. Speed on the route is paramount, because the ferry is competing with air transport.
Both Incat and Austal have concept designs for larger dual-fuel fast ferries powered by GE LM2500 engines. Other concept designs for the same power unit include the COGES LNG carrier, designed for increased efficiency.
Carlo Contessi of Wärtsilä Italy recounted new experience and future expectations for gas powered ships. He looked back to the previous year’s event on the Viking Grace, powered by Wärtsilä dual fuel engines, and the first large passenger ship with dual fuel. This is being followed by Fassmer’s newbuild in Germany, designed for maximum efficiency, with mechanical drive – dual fuel has proven itself suitable for such systems. Conversions have also proved feasible. The offshore sector lends itself particularly well to dual fuel power, the environmental footprint being particularly important. In offshore, engines have to be capable of operating in arctic and tropical temperatures, and over a wide load range, including heavy load in ice operations – in all of these dual fuel works well. A total system efficiency approach is needed, as in Wärtsilä’s low loss concept for electric drives. Dual fuel has been proven on tugs, PSVs, icebreakers, icebreaking LNG carriers, drilling and production ships – these using low-quality production gas without derating.
Conversions were the focus of a presentation by Henning Pewe, of DNV GL. He looked at two projects, the established Bit Viking tanker and the new conversion of the Ostfriesland ferry in Germany. The two concepts are quite different, the ferry being nearly 30 years old while the tanker was much more recent. The ferry involves lengthening the ship, with a new aft ship section to include the gas systems, and new dual fuel engines. Bit Viking’s tanks were placed on deck, within the existing hazardous cargo area, while the engines were converted. Experience from Bit Viking has shown that all of the expectations have been met and the system has worked reliably and safely, reinforcing LNG’s position as a future fuel
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