With IMO’s sulphur cap on marine fuels looming just round the corner, ST Engineering’s LNG vessels have continued to impress users with their reliable designs and outstanding performance.
On 1 January 2020, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) mandate to reduce sulphur emissions will come into effect, and all vessels will be required to switch to marine fuels containing a sulphur limit of no more than 0.50 wt%. As a result, many in the marine industry have been looking to LNG power to achieve sulphur-free operations.
According to industry reports, the global LNG market grew by about 12% in 2017, and has continued to grow 8% year-on-year in the first half of 2018. Asia contributed to more than 75% of the global LNG demand with a 52% year-on-year increase between 1H 2017 vs. 1H 2018 coming from China. Although market demand for global LNG fleet has sustained at past levels, a spike is forecasted in the coming years given the IMO’s push for sulphur reduction and various government initiatives to establish LNG bunkering facilities.
The market for LNG carriers is one of the most attractive segments in the landscape for new investments, given the present undersupply of LNG carrier fleets. In response to the potential shortage of LNG vessels, many charterers have been booking their shipping capacities further in advance, leaving less flexibility in the market for last-minute demands. The tight market is further exacerbated by the lag between new liquefaction capacity coming on stream and the delivery of new vessels. Meanwhile, industry watchers have been noticing the surge in newbuild contracting.
ST Engineering’s LNG 2000 RoPax design (pictured above) features a capacity for 1,900 passengers and over 1,575m of lanes for trailers or 2,790m lanes for cars, or combination of trailers and cars with a total cargo deck area of 6,850 m2. With dual-fuel (LNG) engines, this vessel will be fully compliant with IMO 2020 sulphur emission standards, and will be able to operate in ECA zones. By running on LNG fuel, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and carbon emissions from the vessel would also be significantly reduced. Other green technologies deployed on board include a waste heat recovery system, and an optimised hull designed to improve fuel efficiency. The use of hybrid battery solutions could potentially optimise the vessel’s environmental friendliness further.
Due to differences in fuel characteristics, the loading and storage of LNG is quite different from that of Heavy Fuel Oils (HFO). Firstly, LNG is stored as a liquid at cryogenic temperature. Upon demand, the LNG is vaporised via a heat exchanger and delivered to the engines/generators. This means that LNG can be easily tampered by changes in temperature and pressure. Secondly, as a cryogenic liquid with a temperature of about -162°C (-259°F), LNG is hazardous to personnel and any conventional steel structures or piping with which it comes into contact. The third difference is that the vapour from typical petroleum bunkering, which has a flashpoint of above 60°C (140°F), can be vented into the atmosphere through flame screens. In contrast, LNG vapours are extremely dangerous as they can form explosive clouds in confined spaces and must be specially handled during bunkering.
As such, the safe handling of LNG becomes paramount in the fabrication of LNG vessels, with design challenges ranging from hazardous area zoning to ventilation and boil-off of LNG, methane slip and piping. Due to the extremely low temperatures of LNG fuel, all storage and support structures must be constructed from special, high-quality materials. The design and construction of the storage tank is a highly critical process, while hull deformation must be capped at very low range. Ship survivability, along with other damage stability requirements, must also be satisfied in accordance with vessel type.
With its years of experience and design expertise, ST Engineering Marine was able to optimise the space and weight of its newest LNG vessel in conformance with classification society rules and the International Code of Safety for Ships Using Gases or Other Low-Flashpoint Fuels (IGF). The vessel has also been certified by Bureau Veritas for compliance with other requisite standards and codes, and an Approval in Principal has been issued.
For the latest information on our LNG solutions, please contact:
Mr Pambrakaran Pathrose Mathai
Senior Vice President, Engineering Design Centre
ST Engineering Marine