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Industry focuses on lng as key technology

A panel of experts at this year’s Nor-Shipping industry conference and exhibition in Lillestrom all concurred: LNG will be the most important technology issue for the maritime industry in the coming years.

The question was raised at a roundtable discussion on June 4, 2013 entitled “The Changemakers,” which included top leaders such as Andreas Sohmen-Pao, BW Maritime & BW Gas group chief executive officers, Koji Sekimizu, IMO secretary general, and Henrik Madsen, DNV chief executive officer.


Liquefied natural gas (LNG) has become a more relevant fuel choice to heavy oil with the pending environmental regulations limiting emissions at sea and possible cost savings. LNG emits 20-25% less CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 100% reduction of sulphur oxide (SOx), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulates, and can lower maintenance costs.


“LNG, energy efficient ships and operations and more use of batteries will be the most important technology to the maritime industry for the next ten years,” said Madsen.


World First LNG Ferry

This message was reinforced earlier that day with the announcement of the Energy Efficiency Award to M/S Stavangerfjord, the first international service passenger ferry in the world to run on pure LNG engines. Issued by Nor-Shipping together with DNV as partner, the award pays tribute to the ship that makes the greatest contribution towards energy efficiency in relation to its function or operation.


Fjord Line’s ferry was picked as the winner among four nominees for the Energy Efficiency Award. Its competitors included Viking Line’s vessel Viking Grace, the first LNG-fuelled large passenger ship, CMA CGM Marco Polo, the largest container carrier on the oceans, and ABB’s platform supply vessel Dina Star, which has been equipped with a full onboard DC grid system.


By day, M/S Stavangerfjord will carry passengers between Hirtshals, Denmark and Langesund, Norway and at night on the Hirtshals-Bergen-Stavanger route. Other shipping companies have based gas operation of their vessels on dual fuel engines, but the gas-only solution on the M/S Stavangerfjord makes it the “greenest sea route” between Norway and the EU, according to Fjord Line.


“A single LNG engine is operating as a spark plug engine solely injected by LNG and not with any mixture of liquid fuel oil,” said Fjord Line, which operates the two gas-only vessels M/S Stavangerfjord and M/S Bergensfjord built by Bergen Group Fosen. “By using only LNG as fuel, the environmental improvement will be significant, both along the coasts and in the harbours where the cruise ferries will operate.”


Fjord Line chose Rolls-Royce as the supplier of the LNG engines. The technology, produced in Norway, has been used on a number of ferries and ships used in the offshore industry.


Rolls-Royce’s spark ignition lean burn engine is one of three gas engine concepts typical for the industry, according to Per Magne Einang, Marintek research director. It offers higher efficiency than a diesel engine and low emissions meeting IMO Tier III regulations, but can be sensitive to gas quality and methane slip. The other alternatives are dual fuel gas engines (low pressure) designed by Wärtsilä and MAN’s dual fuel gas engines (high pressure.


The winning solution uses four pure gas engines and is the first time that the industry uses waste heat recovery of energy from the steam turbine generators, said Einang, during his presentation “Towards Green Shipping” at Nor-Shipping’s Ocean Technology Summit.


“I’m optimistic that LNG will be the dominant fuel for shipping quite soon in the future,” he added

 Tor Østervold

Young Entrepreneur Award

Nor-Shipping also paid tribute to environmental shipping thorough a new prize, the Young Entrepreneur Award, which honours an individual under 40 for having developed new concepts and solutions, innovative technical or commercial solutions, or new logistical solutions, or for taking the industry or environmental challenges it faces in a new way.


The first such award was given this year to Tor M. Østervold, the founder of ECOsubsea, a company established in 2008 together with Norwegian ship owner Wilh. Willhelmsen and Innovation Norway.


A former mariner, smoke-diver and gunman in the Norwegian coastguard, Østervold has developed a unique method for cleaning the hull without damaging the paint while collecting debris, thereby sparing the environment. He came up with the idea of hull cleaning without using toxic materials or expensive docking after working onboard a commercial vessel while he was completing his master’s in international shipping in Plymouth, Massachusetts in the US.


Traditionally, hulls have been scrubbed by divers. However as a result of local pollution and the fear of spreading alien invasive species, local and global policies are closing ports for conventional cleaning of vessels, said ECOsubsea. ECOsubsea’s technology essentially works by using a high-pressure washer and a vacuum on a subsea vehicle equipped with cameras. The removed material is collected and sent to a waste collection facility.


The technology, approved for use in five ports, increases ship energy efficiency and reduces operational costs, invasive species and emissions. It minimizes vessels pollution to air by 5-15% and collects 97.5% of waste from the ship hull. Most recently it was used to clean the hull of M/S Color Fantasy in the Port of Oslo.


“International shipping is today meeting a market with low freight rates and huge bunkers costs,” said ECOsubsea. “This gives a big incentive for ship owners to clean their vessels to save the 5 to 15% of fuel. This would also benefit the environment as the savings also contributes to equivalent lower emissions to air.”




Caption: M/S Stavangerfjord, the world’ first LNG passenger ferry.

Credit: Bergen Group



Caption: Tor Østervold won the Young Entrepreneur Award for his the idea of hull cleaning without using toxic materials or expensive docking.

Credit: Nor-Shipping



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