'Kvitbjørn' completes longest LNG-fuelled voyage

'Kvitbjørn’ has become the world’s first vessel to operate between Asia and Europe running solely on LNG. Photo: Rolls-Royce 'Kvitbjørn’ has become the world’s first vessel to operate between Asia and Europe running solely on LNG. Photo: Rolls-Royce
Industry Database

Nor Lines’ 'Kvitbjørn’ has become the world’s first vessel to operate between Asia and Europe running solely on LNG and propelled by a Rolls-Royce pure gas engine.

The 5,000 tonnes short sea cargo vessel, which was built to Rolls-Royce’s award-winning Environship concept, sailed to Norway from Tsuji Heavy Industries shipyard in Jiangsu, China, via Singapore, and subsequently LNG bunkerings in Cochin, India and Cartagena, Spain.

“The success of the voyage from Asia to Europe on LNG not only confirms the energy-saving and emissions-reduction attributes of Rolls-Royce’s pure gas engine but provides evidence to owners of larger tonnage that LNG is not just for short sea coastal ships,” said Tor Arne Borge, CEO, Nor Lines. “The Environship concept with the Bergen engine has exceeded all our expectations.”

The Environship, which can be adapted for different ship types, incorporates a range of Rolls-Royce technologies to deliver efficiency savings for ship owners. These include a Bergen engine powered by LNG, the Promas combined rudder and propeller, a hybrid shaft generator to optimise use of electrical power and an innovative wave-piercing hull design. The combined technologies that make the Environship concept are said to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 40% compared to similar diesel powered vessels, dependent on operational profile.

“The realisation of Kvitbjørn is a significant milestone in the shipping industry’s fundamental transition from diesel fuel to LNG,” added Oscar Kallerdahl, sales manager, LNG systems, Rolls-Royce. “It is important to note that the Bergen B35:40 gas engine is not a dual-fuel engine. A pure gas engine and shaft generator driving a controllable pitch propeller is the most effective configuration for keeping emissions low and improving fuel consumption.”

This arrangement is coupled with a hybrid shaft generator for electric Power Take In (PTI) which ensures flexibility and redundancy of the system when needed.

Kvitbjørn is about to enter operation delivering cargo in ports between Hamburg, the Netherlands and the Norwegian mainland’s most Northern city, Hammerfest. Nor Lines expects to take delivery of sister ship Kvitnos in June.

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