Nuclear propulsion study for LNG carriers

By Keith Henderson at November 03, 2010 13:05
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As the maritime industry shows renewed interest in nuclear powered commercial ships. Babcock International Group’s Marine Division has recently carried out a study to investigate the implications, both commercial and environmental of using nuclear propulsion for LNG carriers.

Nuclear propulsion continues to enjoy popularity for warships, especially submarines, however of the four merchant ships pioneering nuclear propulsion in the period 1962-1995, three were not commercially successful and were withdrawn after a relatively short period. The Russian merchant ship (with ice breaking capabilities), NS Sevmorput, built 1988, remains: perhaps her name gives a clue to her survival, Sevmorput, is an abbreviation of Severny Morskoy Put, Russian for Northern Sea Route. Of the non-warship applications of nuclear propulsion, only the Soviet/Russian operated nuclear icebreakers have shown outstanding service over many years and could be considered successful.

Within the last few years however, several factors have changed, generating renewed interest in nuclear propulsion for merchant ships, for example recent papers concluding that the adoption of nuclear propulsion for high speed container ships is technically feasible and could be commercially more profitable than conventional container ships.

Babcock’s combination of technical knowledge and experience in LNG projects together with service and support for the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine fleets places them in a good position to have carried out this study. Babcock International concludes from the study that there are several benefits of using nuclear power for LNG carriers: high power density freeing extra space for cargo, zero exhaust emissions and negligible noise emission.

Sole remaining non-warship nuclear powered ship (with ice breaking capabilities) the Soviet/Russian NS Sevmorput, built 1988 in Ukraine.

Fantastica – MSC Cruise Ship to Have Latest Hamworthy Multi Stage Flash Evaporator (MSF)

By George Backwell at November 02, 2010 03:07
Filed Under: General

Fantastica, a cruise ship of some 133,500gt, due to be constructed  for MSC Cruises by STX Europe in their St Nazaire shipyard will carry 4,874 passengers and crew, whose healthy thirsts will be quenched by means of Multi Stage Flash (MSF) evaporation systems to be supplied by Hamworthy Serck Como.

The demand for fresh water by such a large floating population is obviously huge, but according to Hamworthy Sales Director Udo Attermeyer on 21,October 2010, the two Hamworthy MSF 950-8 MSF units on order for Fantastica are capable of delivering 950 tonnes of water per day for a variety of on-board purposes including potable drinking water that measures up to WHO standards. Farewell to fresh water bunker hoses snaking aboard!

It may be helpful to sum up MSF technology in a few words for those unfamiliar with the system.  Feed water is heated in one compartment before being released into a second chamber in which the pressure and the temperature is substantially lower, causing a 'flash-off' of condensible vapour. This process is repeated in multiple chambers in series, each with progressively lower absolute pressures and temperatures, and the resultant condensate is pumped away for treatment according to its intended use.

The problem is that WHO guidelines for potable water require considerable engineering design ingenuity in order to guarantee the microbial safety of drinking-water supplies, mostly achieved by means of multiple barriers in the form of baffles and demisters, together with arrangements for continuous alarm-protected monitoring of distillate purity.

On board water evaporation, despite these challenges, is nevertheless extremely advantageous to cruise ship operators, freeing voyage planners from the constraint (and cost) of having to schedule periodic visits to ports with fresh water supplies of adequate purity. Secondly, bearing in mind that even with a very efficient diesel engine propulsion system only about 50% of the heat of the fuel is converted into useful work at the crankshaft, the productive use of heat transfer energy from main diesel engine jacket cooling water, as at least one of the heat transfer sources for evaporation plant, enables greater fuel energy efficiency.

The success of Hamworthy Serck Como MSF systems speaks for itself, having already been installed in Fantastica sister ships Fantasia and Splendida, as well as in ten other MSC cruise ships.

Berg Propulsion selected for United Faith

By Jocelyn Redfern at October 27, 2010 08:58
Filed Under: Company News, Company News

Berg Propulsion’s innovative feathering controlled pitch propeller has been selected by United Faith (Hong Kong) Group subsidiary Celestone Marine Engineering Co. Ltd, as part of a deal that looks to equip up to four state-of-the-art semi-submersible heavylift vessels with complete propulsion systems. 

The deal, which includes firm orders covering two vessels, plus options to equip a further two in the months ahead, will see installation of combination propulsion systems on each ship, involving traditional diesel engine plus electrically powered Azimuth driver systems from Berg, the Berg CPP with feathering capability, two Berg Azimuth Thrusters (BAT), and two Berg CP tunnel thrusters. The estimated delivery time for the Berg equipment is August 2011.

The 50,000 dwt vessels, construction of which will commence in Nantong, China at the end of 2010, are under China Classification Society class and are rated ICE 1B. They will feature a fully open stern, DP-2 dynamic positioning capability and optimised ballast tank design. They will be capable of float-on/float-off, stern load-out and float-over operations.
Wang Xiaohua, General Manager, Berg Propulsion International Trading (Shanghai) Co Ltd, said that the loading flexibility promised by the design of these ships would likely see them become the preferred configuration for future semi-submersible construction. “These ships have been developed by Shanghai Merchant Ship Design and Research Institute to address the disadvantages associated with existing similar-sized semi-submersible vessels, and have been improved in terms of marine engineering capability, especially in their installation capacity, reliability, efficiency, and their simplicity of operation and maintenance,” he said.

Mr Wang said the combination of the CPP’s feathering capability and the Berg Azimuth Thruster would create opportunities for lower operating costs. Putting a propeller in the feathered position at low speed minimises drag, with consequent fuel savings, he said.

He added that the CPP design to be delivered by Berg would also feature a low oil pressure solution, specifically developed to ensure lower maintenance costs.

For further information, please contact:
Christian Lindquist, Berg Propulsion Marketing Communications Director, tel: +4631976500, email: press[@], or Hugh O’Mahony, JLA Media, tel: +44 208 370 1741, email: hugh.omahony[@]

Northern Lights Launches New Products at Fort Lauderdale Intl. Boat Show

By Jocelyn Redfern at October 26, 2010 13:43
Filed Under: Company News, Industry Events

For the first time at the 2010 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Northern Lights, Inc. (NLI) will display the re-designed M773LW3 generator set, along with the new WaveNet digital monitoring system for its industry-leading lineup of marine-diesel generators.

Following in the tradition of the newly-designed 38kW M944T and the 5-6kW M673 series, the 9kW M773LW3 features NLI’s revolutionary new base frame and sound enclosure. The new design has accomplished a 28 percent reduction in overall volume from the previous configuration while maintaining class-leading sound attenuation.
The WaveNet monitoring system is a significant step forward for the range of NLI panel offerings. This system gives the user a digital window into the operation and output of the generator, including important parameters such as the generator output current, frequency and voltage that is being used at any given time. It also provides comprehensive data logging of generator-related events. WaveNet is NMEA 2000-certified allowing output to any number of NMEA 2000-compatible displays and can be retrofitted into existing NLI applications.

“The overall size of smaller diesel generators and integration with vessel monitoring systems are two increasingly important issues with builders and boaters today,” said NLI sales and marketing manager, Colin Puckett. “We are looking forward to carrying this design philosophy throughout our power generation lineup. The smaller enclosure design and digital monitoring options further exemplify our commitment to keeping NLI at the forefront as a single-source supplier of marine systems.” 
The new M773LW3 and the WaveNet system will both be on display at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Oct. 28 – Nov. 1 in NLI’s booth 1421, along with the rest of NLI’s industry-leading lineup of marine systems.

Lifeboat & Recue Boat Diesel Engines – SOLAS Sets the Bar High

By George Backwell at October 26, 2010 04:46
Filed Under:

Marine diesel engines are remarkably trouble-free. Supply them with clean fuel, enough air, clean lubricating oil and ensure the compression is adequate, and they've got what they need to run – at least according to the leisure powerboat owner's conventional wisdom.

The problem is that diesel engines both large and small are designed to work under load, most being happy workhorses, although not the little high-speed diesel that powers the ship's lifeboat, stowed comfortably high up under the davits. All at once though, that same little engine takes the spotlight when there's need for an emergency launch with lives at stake.

How much actual running in the year is demanded by SOLAS regulations to ensure that engine, gear box and gear train are fit for purpose? Not much at all, just a minimum of three minutes every week, and obviously that's not under load, making it essential that onboard maintenance schedules according to the manufacturer's handbook are kept up, and kept current on the SMS checklist.

Incidentally, Volvo Penta came out at this year's Hamburg IMM exhibition with a new SOLAS range of small high-speed engines especially designed to withstand the tough lifeboat and rescue boat environment. The D3/D4/D6 range of common rail injection system high speed diesel engines, available in 14 output ratings, come with a 'SOLAS Kit' and are based on standard proven engine designs adapted to meet stringent SOLAS engine specifications that include:

  • Withstanding free fall of the lifeboat from 3 meters
  • Withstanding a lateral impact of 3.5 m/s on the lifeboat
  • Stopping automatically on capsize and easily restartable
  • Preventing loss of fuel and lubricating system oil in a capsize
  • Working submerged in water up to the crankshaft centerline
  • Running properly at an angle of up to 10 deg trim and an angle of up to 20 deg list, either way
  • Having a manual starting system or power starting system with two independent sources
  • Limiting electromagnetic emissions
  • Starting up without heater down to -15C

These state of the art, electronically controlled engines with advanced combustion systems, are backed up by a five-thousand strong worldwide network of Volvo Penta service centers and dealerships, to keep them in the best of health for the occasion when they take their turn in the spotlight.

MAN introduce new super-long-stroke low-speed engines

By Keith Henderson at October 25, 2010 15:33
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A new series of super-long-stroke low-speed engines designated G type is announced by MAN Diesel &Turbo and represents their biggest development in the last ten years since the introduction of the ME electronic engine.

The first series offered is the G80ME-C9 with a bore of 800mm and stroke of 3,720 mm. The present longest stroke MAN engine with this bore, the S80ME-C9 has a stroke of 3,450 mm: therefore the new super long stroke G type represents an increase in stroke of 7.8 per cent. The engine power per cylinder is similar to the S80ME series with 4,510 kW/cyl versus 4,450 kW/cyl for the G80ME, however speed is considerably reduced from 78 to 68 rpm. Piston speeds are also reduced from 8.97 m/s to 8.43 m/s, however bmep is increase from 20 to 21 bar respectively. The G80ME-C9 will be offered in six, seven, eight and nine cylinder configurations.

The slower running engines offer the use of larger propeller diameters with the associated improved efficiency improvement. According to MAN Diesel & Turbo for the propulsion of tankers and bulk carriers, there is the possibility of adapting the design of the after part of the hull to accommodate even larger propellers thereby requiring engines of even lower speeds. Current estimates suggest that running the new designs offer potential fuel savings between four and seven per cent with a similar reduction in CO2 emissions.

Design work on the first G type is making good progress and final drawings are expected to be completed by mid 2011. Other G type series will follow in the future according to demand.

Coastguard OPV runs on LNG

By Keith Henderson at October 24, 2010 19:21
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The KV Sortland, is the last of a class of three 93m LOA OPVs delivered to the Norwegian Coastguards in July 2010. The Barentshav (Bering Sea) Class is a world first application of LNG in this type of vessel. The Norwegian contracting shipbuilder is Myklebust Verft AS, Gursken, with hulls being produced by the Severnav yard in Romania.

The hybrid propulsion system offers a choice of three propulsion modes: gas electric, diesel mechanical or both. When using LNG, the reduction in emissions compared to operating on MDO is around 90 per cent for NOx with a CO2 emission reduction of approximately 25 per cent.

The propulsion system comprises a single Rolls-Royce Bergen B32:40L8P diesel engine running on MDO fuel and rated at 4,000 kW at 750 rpm. It is connected through a mechanical drive to a CPP with nozzle. On the propeller shaft there is a 2,500 kW electric propulsion motor. Electric power is provided by LNG fuelled gensets comprising three MHI GS16R-MPTK gas engines rated at 978 kW and a single MHI GS12R-MPTK gas engine rated at 600 kW. A control system automatically starts and stops the genset depending on power needs. Using gas electric propulsion only, the speed is 15.5 kts, on the single diesel alone it is 18 kts and hybrid (mechanical and gas electric 20 kts.
The hull is equipped with a bow and a stern thruster and for improved maneuverability there’s a 883 kW retractable azimuthing thruster in the bow.
In addition to normal coastguard work, the multi purpose vessels which have an ice classification 1C, are designed for towing and rescue operations, oil recovery and fire-fighting. In addition there is a collaboration agreement with France and UK for a NATO Submarine Rescue System capability.

The Norwegian Coastgaurd Barentshav (Bering Sea) Class is a world first application of LNG in this type of vessel.

PlanetSolar sets off across the Atlantic.

By Keith Henderson at October 22, 2010 16:23
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It was in May 2010 that the world’s largest solar energy powered ship, the MV TÛRANOR PlanetSolar. was shown off to the public for the first time, that was in Hamburg and the plan was to carry out the circumnavigation in 2011.

Since then she has been fully completed and undergone many trials in preparation for the epic voyage. There were a few issues to be resolved, for example the addition of a rudder, which was originally thought to be redundant as course correction and maneuvering could be achieved using the twin screws. When fully kited out for the voyage, her actual displacement was higher than designed and this submerged the special partial submerged propellers more than planned. This could have been a problem but the test results were so good and her performance up to specifications that she motored down to Monaco this summer.

The favorable weather prognosis for the Atlantic crossing influenced the international team of five men and one woman crewing the vessel, to bring forward the departure by more than six months. At first, the circumnavigation was publicized to be about 140 days in duration, more recently this was increased to 160 days and the estimation presently is being estimated at 8 months. A main reason for this change is that due to commercial considerations related to sponsorship, the ports of call have been changed and duration of the calls is also different. Bearing these factors in mind and that propulsion speed is dependant on weather, i.e. sunshine the latest conservative figure is understandable.

The ship set off on her voyage on 27 September 2010 and taking a southerly route, headed for the Canary Islands as a first stop. Despite running into stormy weather in the Mediterranean Sea, she arrived 21 days later in Gran Canaria. After completing maintenance and tests during a four day stopover she headed out into the Atlantic with next port of call Miami, Florida with ETA end November, beginning December. The planned route thereafter is Cancun, Panama Canal, San Francisco, Sydney, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Suez Canal and Monaco.

The 85 ton displacement ship has a length of 31 m and beam 1 5m and there is accommodation for around 40 guests. 537m2 of solar panels feed the largest lithium-ion battery in the world. Two 10kW electric motors, power a controllable pitch carbon fiber propeller. Built by the Knierim Shipyard together with HDW in Kiel, Germany, the electrical management and control system is provided by Imtech, Germany.

MV TÛRANOR PlanetSolar lying alongside in a harbour in Hamburg, Germany



Part of the 537m2 of solar panels providing the energy for the electric propulsion motors

There is a CP semi-submerged propeller on each sponson.


By Keith Henderson at October 21, 2010 15:02
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In the quest for greater propulsion efficiency and lowering CO2 emissions, the University of Hiroshima and the Shin-Kurushima Dockyard Co. Ltd., Japan started a research and development project in 2007 to develop a bow form with lower wave resistance. The three year study was particularly targeted at ship types with a blunt bow such as bulk carriers and its above surface performance against waves .This type of ship is particularly susceptible to waves of a short wavelength causing increased resistance as waves strike the bow and are reflected back.

The study focused on the design of the bow portion above the waterline to produced a form that scatters incident waves, reducing the reflected effect and reducing wave resistance. Called the SK-Bow, theoretical calculations confirmed later by a series of test tank tow tests, this new bow form has shown wave resistance to be decreased by up to 30 per cent, increasing speed and offering a significant saving in fuel with a reduction of CO2 and other exhaust emissions.

Simultaneously Shin-Kurushima Dockyard in a separate study with the University of Kyushu is developing a high efficiency propeller called the K3.

Shin-Kurushima Dockyard has announced that the SK-Bow and K3 propeller will become standard features of future medium sized bulk carriers built by them.

EGR for Two Strokes

By Keith Henderson at October 21, 2010 14:50
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The first application of an EGR system on a slow speed two stroke engine was put into service this summer on board the Maersk Line container ship MV Alexander Maersk. Launched in 1998 the 1,092 TEU vessel has a MAN B&W 7S50MC Mk6 main propulsion engine rated at 10,126 kW at 127 rpm. MAN Diesel & Turbo has been carrying out tests for several years researching EGR on their experimental 4T50ME-X engine, together with a number of ancillaries necessary for the system to function correctly. They have been working on the Alexander Maersk project for almost two years to develop all the parts of the system for this application. It was installed in March 2010 and is undergoing test and evaluation as the vessel plies her normal routes in the Mediterranean.

Exhaust gas recirculation works by reducing the oxygen available in the engine cylinder therefore reducing NOx formation. The EGR system provides a minimum of 20 per cent recirculation of the exhaust gas delivering a 50 per cent reduction in NOx compared to the reference level.

The long term effect of EGR on the engine running on HFO is a vital part of the test and evaluation of the effectiveness of the system, consequently examination of the engine including the cylinder condition is an important part of the test. Preliminary results are satisfactory and follow some minor adjustments, the system is now fully operational. To ensure the EGR system reacts correctly and rapidly to engine load changes a fully automatic control system was developed making operation simple and straightforward for the engine room staff.

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