Dual-fuel to LNG Marine Engines – One Step Closer

By George Backwell at December 26, 2010 23:00
Filed Under: General

Dual-fuel marine diesel engines are increasingly being fitted to new-buildings where twin benefits of negligible noxious gas emissions (thanks to squeaky-clean combustion) and  economical performance come to bear when the engine operates in LNG mode. Indeed analysts are agreed that it is only the sparse availability of LNG bunkering facilities world-wide that limits installation of far greater numbers of dual-fuel systems at a time when prices for oil fuels are uncertain, and when environmental regulations are becoming increasingly stringent.

For vessels with ready access to LNG as a fuel source, there has been a natural progression in the fitting of dual-fuel engines, beginning with large LNG carriers themselves using boil-off cargo gas when loaded.  Now that progression has extended to include far smaller ships (with a no less an important role in drilling operations) which also have ready access to the fuel  – LNG Platform Supply Vessels (PSV's).

PSV's in the Kleven Maritime Shipyard, Ulsteinvik (Courtesy of Kleven Maritime)

Dual-fuel Marine Engines – First Step Toward the LNG Fuelled Ship

A recent example of the trend came when Norwegian operators Eidesvik Offshore released news on 20, December 2010 that they had contracted with the  Kleven Maritime Shipyard in Ulsteinvik, Norway, to build their fifth dual-fuel PSV. In addition to the all-in design of the vessel, including the hull form in conjunction with Eidesvik's in-house project team, Wartsila will supply the dual-fuel main engines and generating sets (Wartsila 20DF and 34DF respectively). The widened scope of the engine manufacturer's design compass in this order may indicate an emerging trend in the supply of dual-fuel propulsion systems, where location and construction of LNG fuel tanks must figure high on the design agenda.

LNG As Single Fuel Source – Viking Line Order

The actual construction of a large ship powered by LNG as the sole fuel source is only as far off as 2013, as Keith Henderson reported in these columns last week in a comprehensive article‚ 'World's largest LNG fuelled passenger ship', that drew attention to a contract between Viking Line ABP and the STX Finland shipyard to build a 57,000 gt passenger and vehicle ferry to be fuelled exclusively by LNG.

This new ship, now in the design stage, will link the ports of Turku, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden, a route within a Tier lll NECA (Noxious Emissions Control Area) which may lead to LNG becoming the fuel of choice by ferry operators trading within NECA's elsewhere and who must certainly be watching Viking Line's LNG innovation with considerable interest.


Photo op: USS O'Kane (DDG 77) at sea with the U.S. 5th Fleet

By Edward Lundquist at December 26, 2010 09:30
Filed Under: Navy insights

ARABIAN GULF (Dec. 14, 2010) Gas Turbine System Technician Mechanical Fireman Yorvania Lightbourn conducts preventive maintenance on a propulsion engine aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS O'Kane (DDG 77). O'Kane is deployed as part of Commander, Task Force-Iraqi Maritime supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elisandro Diaz/Released)

World's largest LNG fueled passenger ship

By Keith Henderson at December 23, 2010 07:52
Filed Under:

STX Finland and Viking Line have now confirmed their October agreement for the construction of a 214 m, 57,000 gross tons passenger cruise ferry with a speed of 23 kts: the agreement includes an option for a sister ship.
Viking Line plan for the ship to cruise extensively in the shallow waters of the Finnish and Swedish archipelago therefore their specification of a vessel with a minimum impact on the environment. The use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel the vessel will reduce exhaust emissions to a very low level, in addition, environmental issues including noise levels and wave formation will also be addressed in the design of what will be the world’s largest LNG fuelled passenger shp. The engines have a dual fuel capability are also able to run on diesel fuel if LNG is not available
The ship has a crew of 200 and  will accommodate up to 2,800 passengers in 880 cabins. There is 1,275 lane meters for road freight, plus 500 lane meters for private cars on a separate deck: further car space is available on lifting decks.
The cost of the ship is reported to be EUR240 million however Viking Line is expected to qualify for an EUR 30 million investment support earmarked for environmentally friendly projects. Payment of the subsidy is only after delivery and requires approval of the European Commission.
The new ships is scheduled for completion in 2013 at the STX yard in Turku which is presently vacant since last month’s departure of the Allure of the Seas.

Swedish corvette is engineered for stealth

By Edward Lundquist at December 22, 2010 05:18
Filed Under: Navy insights

Swedish corvette is engineered for stealth

By Edward Lundquist

The Swedish corvette Visby is stealthily to the core, right down to the all-composite shaft. 

From the carbon fiber hull and radar absor­bent coating to the enclosed gun mount, flush antennas and telescoping mast, this ship has extremely low signatures.  The camouflaged appearance is hard to see, and the engine exhaust being ducted into the water jets reduces the infrared signature (the engine exhaust mixed with the water does create a visible vapor “exhaust”).  The machinery sits on vibration isolation mounts, and non-magnetic materials are used throughout.

Despite this unique approach to warship design, Lt. Cmdr. Bjorn Spangberg of the Royal Swedish Navy’s Third Naval Warfare Flotilla doesn’t see a downside. 

Spangberg is head of Trials Unit Visby technical division with the Third Naval Warfare Flotilla, and before that was aboard the Visby class as chief engineer.

 “Regarding the composite shafts I can’t come up with any cons at all,” Spangberg says.  “They are almost maintenance free.   We only have to perform visual inspections of the shaft surface, flexing elements and bulkhead seals.  Existing bolts are checked regarding tightness once a year.”

The composites weigh about half as much as steel. If the ship was built with tradition construction materials it would displace 1,300 tons instead of 650.  And the com­posites contain the heat and smoke, so compartment fires do not spread before the installed firefighting system can extinguish it.  Every thing aboard is fire retardant, even the bed sheets.

Five ships of the class have been built or are building.  The lead ship was commissioned in 2000. 

HSwMS Härnösand and sister-ship HSwMS Helsingborg were commissioned Dec. 16, 2009. They are the two newest Visby-class corvettes, says Cmdr. Patrik Norberg, who commands the Härnösand.

Visby-class corvettes HSwMS Härnösand (K 33) and sister-ship HSwMS Helsingborg (K 32) at the Swedish Navy Base at Karlskrona. (Photo: E. H. Lundquist)

Ac­cording to Royal Swedish Navy Capt. Anders Olovsson, 3rd Naval Warfare Flotilla com­mander at the Karlskrona naval base, Visby has “lean manning,” with 27 officers and 16 ratings, for a total of 43.

With the two Detroit/MTU diesels she can make 15 knots, and with the diesels and with the four Vericor TF50A gas turbines, the 238-footVisby can move out smartly at 35 knots.

I accompanied Härnösand to sea in the Baltic for a gunnery exercise.  The steerable KaMeWa waterjets make Härnösand very maneuverable during mooring evolutions, and the bow thruster makes it even easier.  Helm controls are operated by one person.  The ship comes up to speed rapidly.  While underway at 35 kts., I watched from the bridge as the ship made a 180-degree turn inside its own wake.

Gas turbines exhausts gases are cooled with seawater, Spangberg says.  “We also cool gases produced from boiler, auxiliary machinery and low speed machinery in order to keep the heat signature low.  The internal seawater cooling systems are used for cooling everything but the exhaust gases from the gas turbines.  When the main engines are running, their exhaust gases are cooled by seawater drained from the waterjet units via a regulating system for optimal cooling effect due to specific power used.”

The cooling system for the gas turbines are built by Mecmar, a Norwegian company.  “They have built systems like ours for high-speed ferries around the world.  One unique thing is that we have two gas turbines that come together in one exhaust system on each side (port and starboard). The exhaust system leads from the engine room aft and up to the cargo deck, and then turns down through a horizontal surface in front of the transom.  The advantages include reduced heating signature, reduced gas volume, reduced size of exhaust piping, and reduced weight,” Spangberg says.

“The Visby-class corvettes for Sweden have been in the limelight. They took a long time. They cost a lot. But we are leaving the conscript navy and this flotilla is rapidly evolving into a standing operational force,” Olovsson says. “These ships are warfighters. They can fight in all dimensions.”



Captain Edward Lundquist, U.S. Navy (Ret.) is a principal science writer with MCR Federal LLC. 


Improved combustion efficiency using Catalyst Injection System

By Keith Henderson at December 21, 2010 06:28
Filed Under:

The US based company EcoEmissions Systems, Inc, founded in 2008, with headquarters in Tempe, Arizona, has developed a patented system of reducing fuel consumption and emissions of diesel engines. The system can be fitted in a mattter of hours on new engines or retrofitted to an existing engine as the installation requires virtually no modifications.

The Catalyst Injection System (CIS) feeds an aerosol mist of an inert platinum based catalyst into the combustion chamber during the intake cycle. On the compression stroke as the temperature in the cylinder reaches 325 degC (620 degF) the catalyst becomes active and begins to break down the carbon particles (soot). As fuel is injected on the power stroke the presence of the catalyst produces more rapid ignition at a lower temperature creating a longer burning period during the power stroke. Combustion is more complete, producing more work resulting in increased power for greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions.

EcoEmissions claim that CIS can reduce diesel fuel costs by 8 to10 per cent  while cutting particulate matter by 30 to 40 per cent and hydrocarbon and NOx by more than 25 per cent. Further benefits are said to a cleaner running engine with less wear and a longer engine life.
In trials on board the small cruise vessel Endeavour (66 m), fuel savings of 9.3 per cent and a reduction in CO2 emissions were achieved. On an annual basis this represents a fuel cost saving in excess of $ 62,000. Trials on a larger cruise ship are scheduled for next year.

Disney Cruises Disney Dream – 'Lego' Built, Diesel-electric Propulsion

By George Backwell at December 20, 2010 02:55
Filed Under: General

Disney Dream, Disney Cruises latest Caribbean cruise ship of 128,000 GT and 4,000 passenger capacity was delivered by German builders Meyer Werft on 15, December 2010 and is scheduled to make the transatlantic crossing for a maiden cruise departure on 26, January 2011 from home base Port Canaveral, Florida. 

A Disney publicity department staffer described the cruise liner as offering guests, "A perfect blend of elegant Art Deco style and fun-filled Disney whimsy to create one of the most spectacular ships afloat." Yet apart from the hype, which is forgivable considering competition in the growing cruise marketplace, there has been little mention of the state-of-the-art construction of this huge liner, the biggest ever built in Germany, and of its hi-tech propulsion.

Laser and 'Lego' Shipbuilding

Disney Dream first began taking shape early 2009 using 'Lego' building principles in a totally enclosed weather-proof building hall enclosing the dry dock at Meyer Werft's shipyard at Papenburg on the River Ems. There, steel plates, eight at a time, were welded together in the digital factory using the builder's trademark 'Hybrid Laser Welding' process which is claimed to be both faster and stronger than conventional welding, and less likely to cause distortion.

These 'Lego' sections were then joined together to make up about  seventy larger units of up to eight-hundred tonnes each, fabricated complete with fixtures for cable tracks, plumbing, and air-con ducts ready for assembly in the dry dock where Disney Dream took shape.

Deutschland Online Magazine correspondent Marin Orth, described building cruise ships as a masterly achievement of engineering and logistics, on the basis that Meyer Werft, one of only a few specialist cruise ship constructers in the world, required some two thousand sub-contractors to deliver the more than fifteen million necessary parts to its building hall at exactly the right time for fitting in the new cruise ship.

Disney Dream Launch: Photo Courtesy of Disney Cruises

Under the Hood

The propulsion method of choice for Disney Dream, as for most present-day cruise ships, was diesel-electric, which amongst its many well-known advantages gives passengers a low noise and vibration free environment in which to  enjoy the cruise experience.

Specifically,  Disney Dream has altogether five medium speed MAN diesel engines (three 12-cylinder 48/60CR engines, plus two 14-cylinder versions) linked to two Converteam 19 MW propulsion motors, driving twin propellors to give a service speed of 22 knots. MAN's Common Rail (CR) fuel injection system not only makes the ship IMO exhaust gas emission compliant, it also promises a soot-free ride for junior, even at start up and under low engine loads, as he scoots happily down from topsides along the 765-foot long 'AquadDuck' water-coaster.

Disney Dream Engine Installation: Courtesy of Disney News Blog


Amsterdam Delivery Service by Boat

By Keith Henderson at December 16, 2010 08:08
Filed Under:

Twenty five per cent of the surface are of the city of Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands is  occupied by water. The canals that make up the charm of this old city mean that there is not so much room for circulation of automobiles and even less for trucks. Although the canals were used extensively if not exclusively as the means of transport of people and freight in the city, after the introduction of the internal combustion engine transport by water became less and less frequent.

In a move to change this, a company by name of Mokum Mari Team, has introduced a city delivery service by boat aimed at commercial businesses.

Using a specially constructed barge type vessel of 20 m length and beam 4.25 m, it operates silently and without emissions powered by a 52kW electric motor running on batteries that are charged overnight. There are two 35 kW onboard diesel genset in case the batteries’ eight to ten hour capacity is exceeded.

The vessel’s capacity is 38 pallets, equal to three or four delivery tucks used in the small city streets. To load and discharge the cargo, there is a 17 ton hydraulic crane able to pick up a pallet or goods and place it on the street beside the canal. Some commercial properties, especially the older ones already have a delivery window at canal level able to receive freight straight from a barge.

It is hoped that this service will become a commercial success and that the fleet of delivery vessels will expand in the future, reducing the road traffic congestion and associated pollution.


Amsterdam Canal Delivery Service barge Mokum Mariteam ( image credit: Mokum Mariteam)

Stern view of the barge showing capacity (image credit: Mokum Mariteam)

At Florida State University, the Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS) is educating the next generation of power engineers and scientists

By Edward Lundquist at December 15, 2010 04:09
Filed Under:

At Florida State University, the Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS) is educating the next generation of power engineers and scientists

Workshop examines Next-Generation Integrated Power Systems, Energy & Microgrids

By Edward Lundquist

The Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS), a multidisciplinary research center at Florida State University performing basic and applied research to advance the field of power systems technology, recently hosted a workshop on the Next Generation Integrated Power System (NGIPS).  The workshop at the FSU campus in Tallahassee, FL, marked the 10th anniversary of CAPS.

The American Society of Naval Engineers held the two-day workshop, called “Road Ahead for NGIPS, Energy & Microgrid Systems 2010,” to bring together representatives from government, industry and academia to participate in panel discussions about ongoing and planned initiatives regarding naval power systems, alternative energy systems and micro-grids.  More than 150 professionals attended.

CAPS focuses on both naval and civil applications, because studying one benefits the other.  Studying “smart grid” energy supply system,—in which power is generated from multiple sources—also has shipboard applications.

CAPS is funded primarily by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), with additional support from the Department of Energy and some commercial research funding.  “CAPS is the only facility of its kind in the world,” says Dr. Steinar Dale, the director of CAPS.

“Future naval warships will feature the “ultimate smart grid,” Dale says.  “Naval grids are more complex, with loads changing all the time, but a fixed set of generation.  As you try to meet the load, you must be sure the generation remains stable.  So I think the Navy research is very much in the forefront of what our utility grid will look like in the future.

The CAPS test and demonstration facility (www.caps.fsu.edu) has one of the largest real-time digital power systems simulators, as well as a 5 MW AC and DC test beds for hardware-in-the-loop simulation.

“This is a true marriage of a large scale digital power system simulator and actual large scale hardware, which can be combined to test real hardware in a realistic system environment,” Dale says. “For example, we tested the 5MW high-temperature superconducting motor for the Navy at sea state 5 without going to sea.”

Over the last ten years, the CAPS affiliated faculty at the Florida A&M and FSU College of Engineering have graduated over 30 Ph.D. students and 39 masters degree students.

“We are educating the next generation of power engineers and scientists who get to work on the cutting edge,” Dale says.

The center also is working with a consortium of universities to develop an all-electric Navy ship.  The Electric Ship Research and Development Consortium (ESRDC) brings together in a single entity the combined programs and resources of leading electric power research institutions for research on near to mid-term electric ship concepts. In addition, the consortium addresses the national shortage of electric power engineers by providing educational opportunities for students in state-of-the-art experimental facilities, ensuring the United States superiority in electric systems well into the future. The Office of Naval Research manages the ESRDC.

CAPS got its start with a $200,000 grant from ONR in 2000 under the leadership of the Chief of Naval Research (CNR) at the time, Vice Adm. Paul Gaffney, who was developing the electric ship research needs and identifying roadblocks and challenges, Dale said.  “This resulted in the blue print for what is CAPS today.”

In July of 2000, after Vice Adm. Jay Cohen took over as CNR, the Office of Naval Research awarded Florida State University $10.9 million over three years to begin research and development of the electric drive and integrated power system that will propel the next generation navy ships in the 21st century.


Captain Edward Lundquist, U.S. Navy (Ret.), is a principal science writer for MCR Federal LLC.

HERCULES Project Continues

By Keith Henderson at December 14, 2010 06:38
Filed Under:

The I.P. HERCULES Integrated Project (High Efficiency R&D on Combustion with Ultra Low Emissions for Ships) is a large scale cooperative project on marine engine R&D concerning sustainable and safe energy production from marine engines. It is supported by the European Commission and the Swiss Federal Government. Comprising a consortium of 43 partners led by the major engine maker groups MAN Diesel & Turbo and Wärtsilä, it includes component suppliers, equipment manufacturers, universities, research institutions and shipping companies.

The project was conceived in 2002 and a research program started up in 2004 covering the broad remit topics of higher efficiency, reduced emissions and increase reliability. As the project drew to a close in 2007, many benefits in the field of improved combustion efficiency and reduced emissions were achieved.

So successful was the project that it was decided to continue the research program now known as Hercules-A with a new four year Hercules-B program to run in the period 2008 to 2011. The original aims were retained however the new -B project was to focus on reducing fuel consumption and lowering CO2 emissions.

As Hercules-B is scheduled to finish in 2011 it has been decided to continue the research cooperation by commissioning a part three program to be known as Hercules-C. It is planned to run over a three year period 2012 to 2015 and has a budget of EUR19M provided by the European Commission. In addition to the main aims of combustion efficiency, including fuel injection and emission reductions, the wider shipping issues of fuel reduction optimization of ship energy management, and engine technologies supporting transport mission management are added.
In total, the three programs of Hercules A, B and C will span the years 2004 - 2015 for an estimated budget of EUR79M.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions – New Consumer Guide to Eco-friendly Ships

By George Backwell at December 12, 2010 22:59
Filed Under: General

Richard Branson (founder of the iconic Virgin brand that includes Virgin Airways) has put his financial muscle behind the launch of an apparently non-profitmaking website, ShippingEfficiency.org that assigns a 1 to 7 rating for greenhouse gas emission to each and every ship (excepting naval vessels) in a database of about 60,000 ocean going ships.  Branson and like-minded business leaders have it in mind by this means to blow the whistle on ships that fail to measure up in the fight against global warming.

Leader of the project, Peter Boyd, explained the idea in a Sky News interview on 6, December 2010: "You can go online and see an estimate of how clean or dirty the ship is." Meaning that owners can show details of their fleet to eco-friendly shippers and potential charterers, enabling international brand name shippers with global trading patterns to pick ships with the best eco-friendly ratings to carry their products. It is with this business spin-off in mind that may lead some to wonder if the aims of this emission rating project are entirely altruistic, indeed it does seems a touch ironic that the proprietor of a major airline is leading this initiative.

Carbon Footprint Calculation

Broadly, the new website has come up with its own 'Energy Efficiency Rating' using the IMO's 'Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI)' as base, which is calculated on characteristics of ship design, ship capacity, engine power and fuel consumption. In their measure, ShippingEfficiency.org has taken each individual ship (say a container ship of 8,000 TEU) and compared its EEDI value with average values of other ships of that particular type and size. Ratings in descending value from 'A' to 'G' are then assigned to each ship in the database.

Clean or Dirty Ship: Courtesy of ShippingEfficiency.org

Shipping Industry and Environmentalists Differ

To date this greenhouse gas emission rating proposal has not been welcomed by the shipping industry community with open arms. On 8, December 2010, the International Chamber of Shipping's Peter Hinchcliffe raised industry objections in his speech at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, describing the online ship database as "misleading", pointing out that – "Ships have very different construction and safety requirements depending on their type and trade, which can cause their energy consumption to vary greatly."

Yet there are environmentalists who judge ShippingEfficiency's green house gas emission rating scheme as a potentially helpful development in the campaign against global warming, including the WWF's Dr Simon Walmsley, who correctly predicted that an industry reaction would be provoked, but hoped that all concerned might get together around a table to discuss how a more accurate emission rating system for ships could be worked out.

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