Gas Fuelled Ships Conference features round table talks

26 Nov 2014
Conference chairman for day two, Martin Shaw, welcomes delegates to the second part of the event

Conference chairman for day two, Martin Shaw, welcomes delegates to the second part of the event

Day two of the Gas Fuelled Ships conference was introduced by chairman-for-the-day Martin Shaw of MOAMS. Mr Shaw thanked the delegates for attending the very well-received GE Marine-sponsored conference dinner on the previous evening.

The chairman began with a review of the first day, reminding those present that a sharp increase in orders for LNG ships was anticipated in five years, a time scale that has been mentioned at previous events. He also recalled the fact that the EU had considerable funding available for LNG ships, and LNG fuel was being adopted across many sectors. He thanked Fjord Line for being a pioneer. As far as roadblocks to conversion were concerned, it was ironic that the planned first presentation had to be cancelled because the project concerned had come up against just such a legislative roadblock.

Roadblocks were again the theme for the first session of the day, in this case affecting the LNG supply infrastructure. Roger Gothberg, Skangass marine sales manager, described the company’s current and future plans for supplying LNG to ships, including truck-to-ship, fixed bunker stations, and the latest plans to offer ship to ship bunkering on the Norwegian west coast and in the Baltic.

Small scale LNG terminals were examined by Stig A Hagen, director of Kanfer Shipping. The company says it is able to offer a solution, not expensive or land-based, and which it is facilitating and commercialising globally. At present the exact details remain confidential. Kanfer is working with Canadian company Naviform, a large Norwegian shipping company, a large oil company and LNG traders to provide a competitive turnkey solution. The solution is intended to be cost effective, mobile, flexible, scalable and offer a low financial risk.

Arthur Barret of GTT explained how GTT was building on its experience with large LNG carrier cargo containment systems to offer systems for the LNG fuel supply chain. Pressure build up and boil off are phenomena which are dealt with routinely in gas carriers, and are equally relevant, on a smaller scale, to LNG fuel tanks and bunkering arrangements for ferries and passenger ships. Various methods of handling boil off gas must be provided, depending on current operational situations. This applies too to ship-to-ship bunkering, and GTT can provide solutions.

The fifth session looked at bunkering LNG in the future, starting with a paper from Jesper Aagesen of Lloyd’s Register in Denmark. LR had surveyed a number of shipowners, the result being that there was a strong expectation in most sectors that LNG would be adopted as fuel in the future. Offshore and passenger/ro-ro sectors showed the strongest interest, tankers the least. Trade routes in Europe and Asia were expected to adopt gas fuels. Some 11% of deep sea ships were expected to be LNG fuelled by 2025, while 23% of ports surveyed said they would be offering LNG fuel.

Mark Callaway, a naval architect with Rolls Royce, explained the company’s LNG tank technology. A project looking at a small LNG tanker/bunker ship examined a range of different tank configurations, looking at a number of factors, including costs, efficiency and boil off performance. Membrane tanks and A tanks were shown to be particularly attractive from cost and volumetric efficiency, while from an operational viewpoint, including boil off rates, membrane was most effective, though A B and C types should not be discounted. The pressurised C tanks perform particularly favourably from a boil off point of view. All technologies have strengths and weaknesses, and there is no clear winner.

Erik Admiraal of Demaco explained how vacuum insulation technology can be applied to pipelines to lower costs and increase profitability. Vacuum insulation results in around 15 time less boil off than uninsulated pipes. The temptation is to keep capital cost low, but LNG, as a cryogenic gas, requires cryogenic technology, which offers considerable savings in operation over conventional insulation. Other advantages include low corrosion, negligible maintenance and high safety levels. Moreover, the increase in cost is less than expected, with likely payback over one to two years. Demaco is going through the class approval process to allow vacuum insulated pipes to be used onboard.

Bureau Veritas business development manager Carlos Guerro considered design aspects of safe bunkering ships for future larger scale refuelling of deep sea LNG fuelled ships. Such vessels will need to achieve the highest possible delivery rates, consistent with safety, which means factors such as additional boil off gas and vapour return lines have to be considered. The type of tank, in particular whether the tank is atmospheric or pressurised, will have a bearing on the amount of boil off, and management of boil off gas will be critical, as venting will not be permitted. BV has issued guidelines for LNG bunkering, but technical specifications of bunker ships will have to be properly addressed. Bunker vessels must be at least as safe as LNG carriers.

The afternoon – following another lunch courtesy of Barents Naturgass – was given over to round table discussions. Delegates were divided into groups, charged with discussing one of three topics, under the direction of moderators. This continued until the coffee break, after which the moderators summarised the discussions and conclusions. The topics were LNG pricing forecasts, LNG bunkering strategies and infrastructure for the future, and LNG supply and availability.

The moderators indicated the state of readiness of the various topics and subheadings by red, green and amber discs – there were no great surprises, although the number of green and amber compared with red looked encouraging. The discussions will be summarised in the printed edition of The Motorship.

Finally, chairman Martin Shaw summed up the day, thanked the delegates and sponsors, and looked forward to the visits that had been planned to follow the conference proper, when delegates had to opportunity to witness live bunkering of a Fjord Line ferry and see the Skangass LNG terminal.

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