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1269662

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Document Title:

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS WITHIN LPG CARGO HANDLING SYSTEMS

Wrtsil Oil & Gas Systems AS

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Table of Contents

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................. 3

WRTSIL OIL & GAS SYSTEMS..................................................................................................... 4

THE NEW DEVELOPED LPG RELIQUEFACTION SYSTEM................................................................. 6

HANDLING OF SECOND GRADE CARGO VAPOR............................................................................ 8

CARGO LOADING........................................................................................................................... 9

COEFFICIENT OF PERFORMANCE ................................................................................................ 10

VARIABLE FREQUENCY DRIVE AND FUEL ECONOMY .................................................................. 12

REDUNDANCY CONSIDERATIONS AND CAPACITY DURING MAINTENANCE............................... 16

RELIQUEFACTION IN COMBINATION WITH VENT GAS COOLER / CONDENSER UNIT................. 17

VESSEL ARRANGEMENT .............................................................................................................. 18

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Introduction

Recent developments within WrtsilHamworthy for the design of cargo handling systems for fully
refrigerated VLGCs have resulted in a number of improvements and advantages that offers
reductions in fuel consumption, reduction in loading time, simpler operations and cost reductions, all
compared with traditional installations.
Traditionally, VLGCs have been equipped with four identical reliquefaction units. The capacity has
been sufficient to handle the pressure build up in the cargo containment system caused by heat
input from the surroundings, to lower the cargo pressure towards atmospheric before unloading
and to ensure sufficient reliquefaction capacity to manage acceptable loading rates without vapor
return to shore side. Reliquefaction capacity used in this paper is to be understood as net
reliquefaction capacity. Plant design is normally based on requirements related to operation. The
plant should then fulfill all rules set forth by the IGC Codei and Classes related to capacity and
redundancy.
Using the recent experience from operating LNG vessels with reliquefaction systems where two large
reliquefaction systems have been installed in order to provide the required cargo pressure /
temperature control, it would be natural to consider that two large reliquefaction units would be
sufficient for a LPG VLGC. Such a configuration satisfies the IGC redundancy requirements. However,
opposed to the LNG trade, LPG carriers may carry two grades of cargo at the same time. A third
measure for cargo pressure / temperature control is recommended to handle the second and less
volatile cargo if one of the installed reliquefaction units is not available.
In the last few years there has also been a tendency that the cargo list has been shortened,
particularly for the very large gas carriers (VLGCs). Elimination of some grades from the cargo list
simplifies somewhat the design of the cargo handling system.
During the economic recession in 2009 2010, extensive development work was made within
Hamworthy in order to meet the market when it recovered with a new and more cost and energy
efficient system. The development work has been successful and thanks to both Hyundai Heavy
Industries and Solvang ASA who both believed in the new developed system, an order of two ship
sets have been received.

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Wrtsil Oil & Gas Systems

Wrtsil Oil & Gas Systems AS, with its origin from the Kvrner group has been part of the gas shipping
industry since early 1960. The company formerly known as Kvrner Ships Equipment was acquired by
Hamworthy December 1998 and has recently become a member of the Wrtsil group.
The LNG and Gas Recovery business segments are offspring from the LPG segment and have during the few
years shown to be highly successful with innovative solutions for the industry. The below figure shows the gas
business development within Wrtsil Oil & Gas Systems.

1999 - 2012
7 Ship based VOC recovery systems, 4 shore terminal VOC recovery systems

Gas Recovery
Business Stream

1999

2015
1999
LPG reliq system
with vent gas condenser

1965
Havgas
LPG Carrier
Delivered

1986
Berge Troll
LPG FPSO

2004
Sanha
LPG FPSO

1996
Escravos
LPG FPSO

1963 - 1999
125 LPG reliquefaction systems

2011
New LPG Reliq award
Two vessels
2009
Aquires
Aibel T&P

1999 - 2014
90 LPG cargo handling systems

1963

LPG Business Stream

2015
2008
Aquires
Baltic
Design
2004
Berge Sisar Centre 2012
LPG FPSO
Member of the
Wrtsil Group
2010

1998
Member of the
Hamworthy Group

2003
Small scale
LNG plant
delivered

2007
Small scale
LNG plant
delivered

Small scale
LNG plant
delivered 2012
Biogas
liquefaction plant
contract award

2004 - 2010
34 LNG Carriers w/ Reliq

1996

LNG Business Stream

2008 - 2013
9 Floating Regasification Systems

2008

2013

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Wrtsil Oil & Gas Systems delivers design, systems, solutions, services and training for any type of gas carriers
and we have an extensive reference list for:

Fully pressurized (FP) vessels


Semi refrigerated / pressurized (SP / SR) vessels
o LPG / Chemical
o LEG

Fully refrigerated

LNG carriers

Last 12 years the company has 90 references for the supply to the LPG/C segment only, typical systems
delivered are:
Ballast control system
Motor control centre
Cargo control system
Reliquefaction plant and auxiliary systems
Cargo heater and booster pumps
Deepwell cargo pumps
Nitrogen generator
Ship design with class drawings, hull model testing, cargo tank design and cargo tank delivery
Cargo handling system, process and arrangement design including construction supervision and
commissioning
o Cargo handling system equipment delivery; valves, instruments, gas detection, level gauges and
alarms, cargo piping,
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o

Together with ship owners we conduct extensive data logging of the performance of the existing fleet enabling
the owners to take corrective actions if a vessels energy consumption deviates from the expected or if the
general health condition indicates that preventive maintenance is due.
As part of the Wrtsil organization, we can now offer a global service network with more than 70 locations
throughout the world. Crew training can to a much larger extent be offered closer or close to the recruitment
offices.
An increased R&D pool will ensure that ongoing and future development of cargo handling systems will be
accelerated and with a scope increase to cover total environmental solutions from both propulsion and
auxiliary engines, fuel supply and power management ensuring an optimum fit between power producers and
consumers reducing the environmental emissions of the future vessels or retrofitted vessels.

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The New Developed LPG Reliquefaction System

It is a tendency that larger LPG carrier newbuildings are designed for dedicated LPG transport only Vessel
specifications (cargo handling section) and requirements are reflecting this. The traditional solution for a VLGC
is to have four identical reliquefaction units installed. During loading all units are normally running, and when
the vessel is loading two grades of cargo, at least one unit is dedicated to the less volatile cargo, normally
Butane. Butane is isoButane, normalButane or any mixture thereof.

Figure 1: Traditional reliquefaction system

The development team was given the mandate to develop a system that offers sufficient operational benefits
and cost improvements in order to become a valid candidate for installations on next generation LPG vessels.
Early in the development phase the concept was presented to Class. Essential for any development are Rule
compliance. An approval in principle from a major classification society was received confirming that the
concept complied with applicable acts and regulations.
The ambitions for the development were to develop a system with higher efficiency than the traditional
system, and that offers a better utilization of the installed generator facilities, i.e. resulting in reduced fuel
consumption and thus reduced carbon foot print. Secondly, the new system should offer increased loading
capacity and reduced cool down time. Thirdly, the system should offer improvements and simplifications in
plant operation. Fourthly, the system should offer cost reductions, both CAPEX and OPEX, benefitting both yard
and ship owner.
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The operational benefits were met. This paper discusses some of these results.
The new development is based on two large and identical reliquefaction units with a combined reliquefaction
capacity in excess of the conventional four units. Additionally, a separate condenser unit for the less volatile
cargo is installed. This condenser unit is using condensate from the more volatile cargo boil off vapor, normally
Propane, as refrigerant.

Figure 2: New Reliquefaction System

The flow schematics for the two reliquefaction units are in principal identical to the conventional system.
However, individual improvements are made on process equipments in order to further improve the overall
performance.
The heart of any reliquefaction unit is the compressor. Traditionally four compressors of type Burckhardt
3K1403A running at fixed speed are installed on a VLGC. The new system uses two compressors type
Burckhardt 4K1653P running at variable speed; offering improved COP, improved power management control
and improved fuel economy. Each of the new reliquefaction units has a reliquefaction capacity significantly
exceeding the IGC requirements.
The most efficient means of operation during laden voyage in case of two grades is to run both reliquefaction
units and leave the condenser unit as redundancy. However, even though the condenser unit is not a
thermodynamically optimal means of condensing the second grade cargo vapor, it may offer overall
operational benefits. This will be discussed later.
The new design is however able to handle all traditional types of cargo and cargo combinations including
Propane with high Ethane content (>8 %). This is based on 36C seawater temperature and 1 bara suction
pressure.

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Handling Of Second Grade Cargo Vapor

Liquefaction of second grade cargo vapor can either be done by one of the reliquefaction units or by the
dedicated Butane condenser unit. The Butane condenser unit offers benefits during both loading and when
loaded. During loading of two grades of cargo, currently for traditional systems at least one reliquefaction unit
needs to be dedicated for the less volatile cargo. The available reliquefaction capacity is normally in excess of
what is needed for loading and cool down of this cargo and means of transferring the excess reliquefaction
capacity to the more volatile cargo would improve the loading rate. This is because loading takes place without
vapor return and loading rate is thus controlled by the installed reliquefaction capacity.
By introducing a dedicated condenser taking a side stream of the condensate from the more volatile cargo, the
installed reliquefaction capacity is better utilized for both cargoes during loading.
Vapor can either free flow to the condenser or by the aid of a dedicated blower, preferably free flow shall be
used. The condensed vapor is returned back to the cargo tanks using a dedicated return pump, this is
regardless of free flow or blower operation. Particularly for blower operations it is important to minimize the
compression heat input and thus a return pump is beneficial. Normally, blower operation is not required.
Free flow of cargo vapor is driven by the temperature differences between the first grade condensate and
second grade vapor and from experience with free flow on LNG vessels, the required driving temperature
difference will be significantly less than what is available for LPG in order to develop and sustain a stable vapor
flow through the condenser.

Figure 3: Butane condenser loop

The blower is designed to handle all vapors when loading two cargo tanks with isoButane. Operations of the
blower will be further studied and optimized when the two vessels are put in operations.
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Cargo Loading

Since vapor return from the LPG carriers are rarely an option, the loading rate is governed by the cargo
handling systems ability to handle the vapor generation from the cargo tanks being loaded.
The new system offers higher loading rate than the traditional system by primarily higher installed
reliquefaction capacity (both increased speed capabilities and more than double volumetric capacity at same
speed) and more available reliquefaction capacity for the most volatile cargo when loading two grades. The
latter is by using the dedicated condenser unit for the high temperature cargo.
SYSTEM
Traditional
New

PROPANE ONLY
136 hours
115 hours

3xPROPANE, 1xiBUTANE
133 hours
93 hours

The table is valid for Commercial Propane with 3.5% Ethane. Cargo loading temperatures are39C and4.5C,
Propane and isoButane respectively. The table should be regarded for information only.

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Coefficient of Performance

The Coefficient of Performance (COP) is the ratio between reliquefaction capacity and power consumption and
describes the energy efficiency of the reliquefaction system and is dependent on several factors, both external
to the system and internal. External factors are cargo vapor composition, inlet conditions and ambient
temperatures, internal factors are process flow path, equipment selection, specification and design. For a given
reliquefaction system the COP reduces (worsens) with increasing cargo volatility, increasing ambient
temperatures and increasing inlet temperatures. Of many internal design factors that have a positive influence
on the COP the following can be mentioned: minimum temperature approaches in heat exchangers, minimum
pressure loss design, compressor piston configuration, valve design and compressor speed.
The piston diameters (configuration) can to some extent be varied within a fixed compressor frame size to
optimize on COP or reliquefaction capacity. This new process has also been developed for smaller vessels using
a special designed 3K1603S Burckhardt Compression compressor. The process has been tuned to yield
acceptable liquefaction capacity at favorable energy consumption. Variations in system performance based on
piston diameters are given below:

3K1603S1
Base Case
Configuration case 1
Configuration case 2
Configuration case 3

Reliquefaction Capacity
kW
32C SW
36C SW
456
445
446
434
468
457
441
430

Shaft Power
kW
32C SW
36C SW
384
396
373
384
407
421
365
377

COP
32C SW
1.188
1.196
1.150
1.208

36C SW
1.124
1.130
1.086
1.141

The new reliquefaction system based on 4K1653P is optimized on both capacity and COP and has for the same
conditions as the 3K1603S a COP of 1.116 and a reliquefaction capacity of 702 kW.
This new system does also use variable speed drive and maximizes the benefits from this drive system. The
reliquefaction capacity of 702 kW is for a speed of 710 rpm, during loading the speed can be increased to 750
rpm giving an additional 36 kW of reliquefaction capacity.
Valve losses reduce with reduced speed and during voyage the compressor is best operated at lower speeds
where the efficiency is at a more optimum value. As can be seen from the graph below, the new system is
superior in COP when matching capacities with traditional system.
As mentioned above, the advantage of variable speed drive gives another 5% capacity during loading which can
be important for this operation and slight worsening of COP in this period should be accepted.
The decline in COP from about 450 rpm is due to a reduction in labyrinth sealing efficiency. However, since the
labyrinth sealing efficiency is dependent on both speed and differential pressure, the rate of decline at the
lower speeds depends on both ambient conditions and cargo composition.
It has further been investigated if the COP declines for loading cases with moderate Ethane content. The results
show that this is not the case.

Calculations are based on commercial Propane with 5% Ethane. IGC conditions are 32C seawater
temperature.
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The right hand side graph is for commercial Propane

with 3.5% Ethane and shows that there is still an efficiency gain at the lowest speeds for most cargoes at more

moderate seawater temperatures.

Running configuration do not differ much from the traditional system apart from that condensation of second

grade vapor can either be handled by one of the two reliquefaction units or by the dedicated condenser skid.

But the way of operating the cargo handling system when transporting two grades of cargo is simplified. and

the system offers increased fuel efficiency which is further described in the next section.

The following charts matches the reliquefaction capacity with the traditional system, and as can be seen there

is a minimum of 6.5% efficiency gain with the new system at these conditions.

Using variable speed drives enables the use of electric drive motors with more optimum pole configuration, i.e.

less poles and hence better efficiency. The overall power factor improves with variable speed drive and as a

result the generator can be loaded higher.

338 rpm

710 rpm

710 rpm

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Variable Frequency Drive and Fuel Economy

Chasing for high COP alone will not necessarily benefit the operational economy if the vessels overall power
balance is neglected. Variable speed drive enables a more efficient operation of the auxiliary engines.
A VLGC is typically equipped with 3x1250kW generator capacity. When running one generator approximately
360kW is available for cargo operations before the Power Management System will request start of the second
generator. With the new system, 360 kW is sufficient for most voyage operations which is not the case for the
traditional system.
It is not required to start the second generator in order to start the variable speed driven motor, but for the
traditional system with stardelta starter it is.
A number of cases have been investigated comparing the fuel economy for the traditional system against the
new system for laden voyages. The investigation has assumed commercial Propane with 5% Ethane and iso
Butane as cargoes. In case 1 the vessel is loaded with commercial Propane in all cargo tanks.

Due to the higher COP at reduced speed a moderate fuel saving was expected, however the better utilization of
the generators further improves fuel savings significantly. At moderate seawater temperatures compared with
IGC conditions there are fair savings with the new system.
In case 2 the vessel is loaded with two grades of cargo, three cargo tanks with Commercial Propane and the
fourth cargo tank with isoButane. For seawater temperatures above 16C, the traditional system cannot
liquefy both Propane and Butane without starting the second generator set whilst the new system requires the
second generator running from above 32C.
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The new system offers a better fuel economy than the traditional system at all seawater temperatures,
however for IGC conditions the gain is fair, primarily due to more optimized generator utilization.

In case 3 we have investigated how the new system performs with the Butane condenser system in operation
to reliquefy Butane boil off. Calculations shows that the traditional system has marginally better fuel economy
than the new system looking at reliquefaction plants only. The new system has in overall better generator
utilization and thus a marginally better overall fuel economy than the traditional system.

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To conclude, running the Butane condenser yields practically the same fuel economy as the traditional system.
The significant gain is that one compressor can handle two grades of cargo..
Finally, operation of the Butane condenser has been compared with base case. Base case is defined as both
reliquefaction units in operation, one for Propane and one for Butane. Interestingly, the Butane condenser
operation gives marginally better fuel economy than base case for low to moderate seawater temperatures.

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Rather than only focusing on system COP, though highly important, one should focus on the total chain from
auxiliary engine, generator, starter and electrical equipments all the way to the cargo handling system. Only by
matching these systems fuel savings can be guaranteed.
All calculations accounts for electrical losses, heat dissipation in equipment room and increased HVAC load due
to VFD starters. Generator data and consumption figures are as per yard supply.

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Redundancy Considerations and Capacity during Maintenance

Redundancy requirements are set forth by the IGC code and two reliquefaction units are comparable with the
philosophy made for LNG carriers; apart from that for LPG each unit has a significantly higher reliquefaction
capacity than what the total heat leakage into the cargo containment system is.
The vessel is fully capable of handling any loading configuration using only one reliquefaction unit in
combination with the dedicated condenser unit. Loading rates will naturally be influenced.
Loading rates will only be influenced when the temperature of the incoming liquid is of a magnitude higher
temperature than the cargo temperature in the tanks. However, the loss of one unit before loading
commences have been investigated. The loading time calculations are based on no vapor return and 2C higher
incoming liquid temperature than the cargo temperature.

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Reliquefaction in Combination with Vent Gas Cooler / Condenser Unit

Rarely there have been requests for vent gas coolers (also known as purge condensers) in order to either be
able to recover an increased amount of cargo vapor during purging or to be able to carry a cargo with increased
amounts of lighter components as e.g. Ethane in Propane. However, since the new system is capable of
handling ethane content to above 8 mole%, this additional equipment is normally not required.
Wrtsil Oil & Gas Systems have references dating back to 1999 in the supply of such systems integrated into
the standard reliquefaction units. Due to the higher capacity of the new reliquefaction unit, it is probably more
suited than the traditional systems for integrating a vent gas condenser system.

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10 Vessel Arrangement
Up until now, the cargo machinery house has been segregated into one electrical equipment room and one
compressor room. The first is safe area and the latter gas dangerous area. Due to recent rule changes (vessels
constructed after 01.01.2007) this segregation is no longer required provided that all electrical equipment has
the required degree of protection as outlined in current acts and regulations.
It was decided that this new development should utilize the benefits from this rule change and the two hulls
under construction at HHI are the first LPG carriers with a cargo machinery house that are constructed
according to the new rules.
Benefits are several, and the following is avoided:
The previous electrical motor room required a separate HVAC system.
Previously an air lock with separate ventilation was required at inlet to the electrical motor room
Bulkhead wall between compressor room and electrical room
Gas tight compressor shaft penetration
Flexible shaft connection
Cofferdam underneath the cargo machinery house
Arrangement inside the house simplifies with the new rules and allows for common lay down areas,
hatches and so forth.

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