A liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel tank system developed by Newport Shipping for crude tankers and bulkers, has gained preliminary class approval to cut maritime emissions and to facilitate retrofits – in line with new environmental requirements.
The approval-in-principle (AIP) from classification society DNV, 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-based ship repair and retrofitting group.
This marks a significant milestone for Newport Shipping, positioning it to take a leading role in the rapidly emerging market to adapt vessel fuel systems for LNG which has seen only a few such retrofits globally to date.
“LNG is one of the cleanest transition fuels currently available globally and can be used with minimum modifications to a ship,” said Lianghui Xia, Managing Director of Newport Shipping.
“CO2 emissions can be reduced by between 20% and 30% just by switching to LNG without installing any other equipment.”
As well as environmental gains, there are also significant cost benefits as LNG is much cheaper than most fuels and there is already a worldwide bunkering network in place offering it at competitive prices.
The 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 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.
Conversion of the existing global merchant shipping fleet of around 100,000 vessels for use of alternative fuels is no longer an option, but an economic necessity for shipowners, as reducing emissions will be a rite of passage for trading in a low-carbon shipping future.
The IMO has set a goal to halve greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping of nearly 1 billion tonnes per annum, and reduce carbon intensity towards 70% of 2008 levels by 2050.
Xia believes Newport Shipping’s concept offers short term “a practical and cost-efficient solution” to cut fleet emissions, pending adoption of technologies for carbon-neutral fuels.