High-Tech Propulsion for Russia's Newest LNG Carrier

By Eric Haun at March 28, 2014 17:23
Filed Under: Hybrid system, LNG fuel, MAN Diesel&Turbo, Propulsion systems

Photo: MAN Diesel & Turbo

Russia’s largest shipping company, Sovcomflot Group, recently took delivery of a newbuild LNG carrier from STX Offshore & Shipbuilding. The 300m vessel, Velikiy Novgorod, is impressive for a number of reasons: it is Arctic ice-classed and has a total gas load capacity of 170,200m3, but the ship is significant most notably for its diesel-electric, dual-fuel propulsion system, which consists of two MAN 8L51/60DF and two MAN 9L51/60DF engines, offering a total rated power of 34 MW.

MAN Diesel & Turbo’s German-built, low-emission propulsion system enables the ship to burn both gas and fuel oil, supplying power to electric motors. This offers a great deal of efficiency, especially when running in gas mode, while also providing a high degree of flexibility and redundancy.

“Key drivers for dual-fuel diesel-electric (DFDE) are its fuel economy and environmental friendliness, its reliability and flexibility due to multiengine concept and safety aspect due to low pressure gas injection, as well as its flexibility in terms of fuel selection (Boil of Gas, MGO, HFO),” a spokesperson from MAN Diesel & Turbo said, adding that these advantages have helped DFDE ship propulsion become “by far the leading concept used by LNG industry.”

The multiengine plant inherently includes a built-in backup, not only offering reliability, but also full maintainability at full service speeds and any time throughout the ship’s voyage.

MAN’s spokesperson added, “DFDE propulsion concept is leading to an LNGC with low complexity, easy to operate, highest efficiency and level of safety while meeting future IMI Tier III emission standards already today.”

In accordance with emerging trend toward dual fuel and alternative fuel LNG carriers, new vessel Velikiy Novgorod is the first ship in a series of five to be built by South Korea’s STX Offshore & Shipbuilding. The ship will reportedly operate for Gazprom under a long-term time-charter agreement with Sovcomflot, while the second ship is slated for delivery in fall 2014.

MAN Diesel & Turbo said the delivery of the LNG carrier newbuilding orders fall under its strategy of expanding its environmentally friendly dual-fuel engine technology into the marine sector, noting promising opportunities ahead in the LNG market. Factors such as rising costs of liquid fuel, reduction of gas prices to due shale gas, lower CO2 and NOx emissions when burning gas, exit out of nuclear power plants and entry into gas power plants have led the company to more actively follow pursuits in the LNG market.

“Gas consumption is on the rise,” MAN’s spokesperson said, “demand for LNG carriers and LNG propelled vessels will continue to grow.” And as the world demand of LNG grows, and more LNG terminals are being planned and constructed, the demand for transportation of LNG worldwide will increase accordingly.

While working on the Sovcomflot project, MAN Diesel & Turbo utilized its experience from working on its first 51/60DF reference project, delivered in 2010 to Spanish shipping line Elcano. The Castillo de Santisteban, which features five MAN 8L51/60DF units, has been operating globally since August 2010 without one day off-hired time on worldwide LNG trades, operating everyday with full propulsion power available, MAN said.

“The experiences won by running engines on board a LNG carrier in daily operation gave us valuable input regarding life time and operating sequences,” the MAN spokesperson said. “The environmental conditions were giving us a great feedback as they vary much more as the powerplant references we have in place. For the Sovcomflot vessels we could also introduce the so called ‘fuel sharing’ where the engines can run partly on gas as fuel and partly on HFO.”


Photo: MAN Diesel & Turbo

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