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In-depth Issue 13

LNG-fuelled cargo vessels

Recent contracts placed with Rolls-Royce for ship design and gas fuelled systems mark a new direction in merchant ship propulsion.

a major advance in propulsion

ea-Cargo AS has ordered what are believed to be the worlds first cargo vessels to be fuelled solely with liquefied natural gas (LNG), and which have a simple mechanical drive propulsion system. On delivery from the Bharati shipyard in India in 2010, they will operate on a ten day round trip service covering Baltic, Norwegian and British ports, bunkering gas fuel at one location. They are a major breakthrough, both in the application of LNG fuel for merchant vessels, and in the way the simple but elegant Rolls-Royce solution works. An important end result will be a very large reduction in emissions compared with a similar ship using liquid fuel. CO2 emissions will be reduced by about 20 per cent NOx by about 90 per cent, particulates are negligible and sulphur oxide emissions will be zero. The new 132.8m long Sea-Cargo vessels will be able to carry 5,600 tonnes of cargo on a draught of 6m, with up to 94teu of containers on deck and 1,140 lane-metres of roro capacity. Rolls-Royce is responsible for the overall vessel design, derived from Sea-Cargos long experience with coastal and short sea shipping, says Inge Ben, Rolls-Royce director merchant solutions. We will supply all the major equipment and systems including main engine, reduction gear, propeller, shaft generator, tunnel bow thruster, rudder and steering gear, automation, and the LNG fuel storage and handling system.


We made a strategic decision three years ago to focus on and build up our competence in this type of propulsion system for merchant ships. Our existing natural gas engine technology has a long proven track record in land-based installations. It was necessary and important to build on this experience for the marine sector, in particular on the entire gas installation on board, including the engine and associated systems. With the new regulations for gas fuelled ships now in place, we are now seeing an increasing demand for our products and technology in this field. We are well positioned through our specialised teams to

take an increasing market share for complete gas installations in a variety of vessel applications, everything from the bunkering flange to propeller thrust. Because the Bergen B35:40V12PG main gas engine is classed for the load/speed operational pattern that comes with mechanical coupling to a controllable pitch propeller, a simple single engine propulsion system has been possible in the SeaCargo roro vessels - conventional in all but the fact that LNG is the fuel. Cold liquid gas will be stored in two insulated flasks forward of the engineroom, in a ventilated enclosure offset to one side to clear a vehicle ramp. This space will



also house the evaporator system that converts the liquid into a low pressure warmed gas and supplies it to the gas engine, which turns the propeller through a reduction gear. The engine also supplies the vessels electrical load by means of a generator driven off the gearbox. The Bergen engine uses the proven Rolls-Royce spark ignition lean burn combustion technology that is the key to obtaining a very high thermal efficiency together with good load and speed control in a gas-fuelled engine. We have an agreement that Hamworthy Gas Systems will be our preferred partner for LNG storage and handling systems. This means that in addition to these roro vessels, Rolls-Royce can offer LNG propulsion systems for a wide variety of ship types from the bunkering flange to propeller thrust together with designs and deck machinery, manoeuvring and automation systems, continues Ben. Rolls-Royce has assisted classification societies and authorities over the past few years

in developing safety rules for LNG-fuelled vessels, based on the companys experience with gas engines, where more than 400 are now in service on land and at sea. Sea-Cargo AS was founded in 2001 through the merging together of the liner activities of Seatrans and Nor Cargo, two leading shipping lines trading between the west coast of

Norway, UK and mainland Europe. The company is owned 60 per cent by Seatrans and 40 per cent by Nor Cargo, operating a fleet of eight multipurpose vessels offering roro, container, heavy lift, and general cargo loaded either by side door or through hatches.
Article by: Richard White
Editorial Consultant.

The132.8m LNG fuelled Sea-Cargo vessels will be able to carry 5,600 tonnes of cargo, with up to 94teu of containers on deck and 1,140 lane-metres of roro capacity.