LPGreen Makes First Steps into Alternative Fuels

Image Courtesy: DNV GL

LPGreen, a joint development project between four maritime industry partners, has developed a new LPG carrier design featuring savings in total consumption for all stages of operation.

The concept design for a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carrier capable of operating on LPG fuel will enable savings of five per cent to nine per cent in total consumption for loading, discharging as well as sailing in laden condition and under ballast, including chilling and maintaining pressure, according to DNV GL.

Compared with the reference design, a conventional VLGC, these were the primary targets of the partners, reached almost a year into the project.

Seeking to develop a safer and more energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and competitive vessel for the transport of LPG products, the project utilizes the latest advances in machinery technology, ship design and operational experience, according to DNV GL.

The LPGreen project,  pursues five main objectives: use LPG as a fuel, develop a highly fuel-efficient vessel, increase load rates to spend less time at terminals, and give utmost attention to both safety and an ergonomic arrangement of machinery to improve the safety of the ship personnel as well as ship operability.

The idea for the concept of using LPG as a fuel was first voiced several years ago. The project took shape in November 2015 when the partners, including Athens-based gas carrier owner and operator CMM, shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the cargo handling systems manufacturer Wärtsilä Oil & Gas (WAR), and DNV ­GL as the classification society, formally agreed to cooperate, with the actual project work launched in May 2016.

“The LPGreen project could not have happened at a better time. With 2020 fast approaching, the shipping industry will have to make the right decisions in regard to the proper option and avoid spending a lot of money unnecessarily to meet the new regulations coming over the horizon,” Kostas Vlachos, COO of Consolidated Marine Management (CMM), said.

“This concept of LPG carriers offering the efficient option of burning LPG is new. Nothing like it has been developed in the past,” Vlachos added.

Summarizing the project status, George Dimopoulos, Principal Specialist for R&D and Advisory, DNV ­GL South East Europe & Middle East Region, said that the design concept is technically feasible, competitive and practicable.

“Comparisons with the reference ship demonstrate that the concept improves overall efficiency by up to nine per cent, reduces energy demand for the cargo handling system by up to six per cent, potentially cuts loading times by up to 35 per cent, and reduces fuel costs through the use of LPG fuel by up to 30 per cent,” he pointed out.

The far-reaching deviations from traditional designs would make the LPGreen concept attractive, not only in terms of the type of fuel burned by the main engine but also the changes affecting the cargo reliquefaction plant.

Further efforts are needed to make charterers aware of the innovative features of the LPGreen design regarding bunker capacity as well as loading and discharging procedures, Vlachos added.

“The concept is a revolution compared to the classical designs. It secures a lot of energy savings and safety advantages,” Vlachos concluded.

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