Fig:LNG carrier underway
In a very interesting booklet called “Marine engines, catalytic fines and a new standard to ensure safe
operation”, major slow speed diesel engine manufacturer MAN B&W Diesel, together with fuel
separator specialist Alfa Laval and BP Marine, concludes that anywhere within the next 30 years HFO
will loose its status as the cheapest marine fuel. This is due to the improvements in the cracking
processes in the refineries, which convert more and more crude oil into distillates. These
improvements leave less refinery residue available for blending into residual fuels, such as IFO-380.
There seems to be a rather remarkably linear trend that the amount of residual fuel oil produced from
a barrel of crude decrease by about 4.6% per decade. In 1990, approximately 20% of a barrel of crude
was processes into residual fuel oil against 14% in 2004. This process might continue as the demand
for distillates around the world is increasing, especially so in emerging giants like China and India.
There will be an increasing number of competitors for the decreasing amount of residual fuel, most
notably container vessels and bulk carriers that have no alternative fuel available, apart from even
more expensive distillate fuels.
LNGCs have the option to use BOG from the cargo and even vaporize some additional LNG to cover
the entire power requirement. With more and more countries discovering that they can generate
income from their gas fields by exporting the gas as LNG, it seems that the LNG market will not be
short of supply in the mid term future.
Vessel owners are increasingly considering LNG as a replacement fuel to marine diesel and heavy fuel oil, also called bunker fuel. Emissions regulations that take effect in 2015-16 will make diesel and fuel oil operation more costly. The abundance of shale gas production in North American has made LNG cheaper and cleaner. Several fleets are working on LNG-fuelled vessel designs. To judge the proposed designs, the USCG intends to use International Maritime Organisation (IMO) guidelines, which are drawing from lessons learned in Norway.
Carbon emissions have long been a concern there, spurring many several to adopt LNG as fuel. Fuel tank placement is a special concern. LNG is not as dense as petroleum, requiring between double and triple the space for the fuel tank. To alleviate the loss of space, some Norwegian designers locate the tanks under accommodation spaces, building protective coffers to hold the tanks. Others have placed tanks on deck where they can vent into the atmosphere should a spill occur. IMO guidelines do not prohibit placement of LNG tanks under accommodation. However, the USCG feels the decision requires careful analysis.
Countries like Russia and Iran have vast gas fields, but the
process to bring it to the market is going slowly. Other producers like Qatar and Nigeria fast track their LNG projects to take advantage of this situation. Using gas fuel on LNGCs also has the added
advantage that it is more environmentally friendly in terms of emissions than HFO or even MDO. As it
is difficult to predict exactly where the markets are going, multi-fuel capability is definitely an
advantage for any LNGC.
Ship energy efficiency management plan
In MARPOL, a new chapter 4 on energy efficiency has been added to annex VI regulations on air pollution. It requires an Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) to be stated for new vessels and a ship energy efficiency management plan to be maintained on all vessels. The EEDI is an indicator of the fuel efficiency of a ship, measured in grammes of CO2 emissions per deadweight tonne per nautical mile: the lower the figure, the better the fuel efficiency. The ship energy efficiency management plan aims to improve the efficiency of a vessel by introducing various management methods such as improved voyage planning to increase fuel efficiency.
Related article:Increased Cargo Capacity for LNG ships & Advantages of the dual fuel diesel electric propulsion
Benifits of compressed gas technology
Procedure for transporting remote gas
Development and potential of todays emerging gas technologies
Transporting economically viable compressed gas liquids from remote fields
Defining various gas carrier types
Fuel flexibility of LNG ships
LNG ship spillage risk
Initial Cool Down of cargo tanks
Leaks on the Cargo System, Continuous Flow - how to prevent
LNG tank leaks and immediate action by gas carriers
Leaks from a Loading Arm due to Tidal or Current Effects
Minor or major leaks from LNG tanks
Procedures for LNG cargo loading
Procedures for LNG cargo discharging
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