Gas fuelled ships conference – first day

27 Oct 2011
Per A Brinchman, technical manager of Wilh Wilhelmsen, delivers the keynote address

Per A Brinchman, technical manager of Wilh Wilhelmsen, delivers the keynote address

The second day of the Motorship Gas Fuelled Ships conference in Rotterdam – now underway – began with a roundup by conference chairman John Aitken of SEAaT of the previous day’s discussion points.

Following a keynote address by Per A Brinchmann of shipowner Wilh Wilhelmsen, giving a progressive owner’s perspective of the potential of gas as a ship fuel, the presentations began with the first session looking at the challenges of using gas as a fuel. Bunkering is one of biggest challenges, although there are risks these can be mitigated. The environmental issues are inescapable, more guidance is sought from regulators and class. A supply chain for gas fuels needs to be established. Crew training and competence are paramount. Different concepts were examined for machinery space safety.

In the second session the discussion started with ways of assisting the practical use of gas in engines, such as cylinder pressure monitoring, and an important consideration was the need to minimise knocking. Water emulsion system for pilot fuel can assist in reducing the amount of pilot fuel burnt. Conversion of engines to gas operation is, possible for four-strokes but less promising for two-strokes. Methane slip can be reduced by attention to valve overlap. Particulate emissions, which are expected to be a future regulatory focus, are almost eliminated with gas fuels.

The third session suggested that methane slip is a real problem that could cancel out some environmental aspects of gas fuels, catalytic methods of reducing emissions of methane to the air are possible but very expensive and largely untried. An academic study was presented that looked at various aspects of designs for LNG ships, and the barriers to implementation, suggesting that the most promising application could be the use of gas for auxiliaries. The session concluded with an update of the Bit Viking conversion – this is proving successful with the ship at sea and in service.

The fourth session examined an Innovative project using sail and biogas-fuelled engines for short sea shipping, and continued with an overview of considerations of tank design and bunkering, arrangement of tanks and engines.

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