Friday, June 4, 2021

As the Maritime World Awaits Zero Carbon Ocean Transits LNG Offers Opportunities

Retrofitting of Tanks Receives Outline Approval as a Stop Gap Option
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – Whilst the maritime world transitions to cleaner vessels as mandated by the IMO and the major governments, one of the easiest switches from heavy fuel oil is probably with the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Although not the ideal long term solution, the gas is reckoned to cut emissions by up to 30% if a suitable conversion is made. One company with an interest is dry docking and ship repair outfit Newport Shipping which has 15 partner yards spanning international trade routes in the Atlantic and Pacific regions. The company has now had its design for an LNG fuel tank system for crude tankers and bulkers gain key preliminary class approval to facilitate retrofits of such vessels.

The approval-in-principle (AIP), in line with new environmental requirements to cut maritime emissions, is from classification society DNV and affirms the technical feasibility of the concept for the VLCC and Capesize vessel classes, and paves the way for it to be implemented in design work on retrofits by the UK group.

According to Newport Shipping’s managing director Lianghui Xia there are significant cost benefits with minimum modifications, as well as environmental gains, as LNG is much cheaper than most fuels and there is already worldwide bunkering network in place offering this fuel at competitive prices.

Newport Shipping’s concept is based on deck-mounted LNG tanks that can be installed without major modifications to the vessel hull, thereby reducing installation costs, as part of a retrofit solution using a dual-fuel engine that would also be suitable for future use of carbon-neutral methane such as bio-LNG. Tank capacity, which is based on a typical ship profile and operating route, is sufficient for a single voyage prior to refuelling.

The new Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) will require all existing cargo vessels to meet stricter class limits on emissions for annual surveys performed from 1 January 2023. In addition to global and regional regulations, there is increasing market pressure from charterers and banks for decarbonisation as a condition of cargo contracts and ship finance.

Xia believes Newport Shipping’s concept offers a practical and cost-efficient solution to cut fleet emissions in the near term pending adoption of technologies for carbon-neutral fuels such as ammonia and hydrogen, as well as battery technology, that are still some way off commercial realisation, adding that a long-term payment plan over 5 to 7 years on 60% of the total cost is offered to clients for its LNG retrofit solution.

Photo: Image courtesy of Newport Shipping.