In Depth: Sustainable with a Capital S

On a snow-filled February day in Geertruidenberg, the Netherlands, Interstream Barging and Peters Shipyards presented their LNG Greenstream tanker, the culmination of creative innovation. “This is not just any kind of project”, states Pieter Peeters, CEO of Interstream Barging. Peeters comments that the project is the result of real interest, found through their market research, as many companies expressed their interest in the mono fuel tanker. In fact, one company has signed a contract for two vessels for several years. The gasoil-free tanker, the first for inland shipping, proves major steps are being taken in this industry in regards to sustainability, safety and efficiency. Delivery of the first vessel is expected at the end of 2012.

Interstream Barging is specialised in the transport of liquid bulk for the (petro)chemical industry and has a fleet consisting of 127 vessels, eleven of which have a Green Award label. The company was approached by Peters Shipyards some two years ago. Peters Shipyards challenges the maritime industry with their innovative and conceptual designs and their motto ‘Creative innovators on water’. Peeters: “We wanted a significant innovation to boost inland shipping and develop a new sustainable type vessel. The Greenstream tanker is based on a solid approach and has four gas engines. LNG -Liquid Natural Gas- will come to play an important part in the overall energy supply for the maritime industry. The fact that the unique propulsion is obtained by using LNG means no more gas oil and as such a cleaner environment. CO2 will be reduced by 25%, NOx emission by 80% and SOx and particals will be reduced by an astounding 99% to 100%.”
Flexible power supply

“Also, thanks to the Peters’ power packs we can achieve an even lower emission”, states Peeters. The four main engines are enclosed over two cases, two engines on one side of the tanker and two on the other. Geert van Voorn, director of Peters Shipyards, comments: “This configuration offers flexible use of the power supply, for instance sailing downstream requires less power than sailing upstream. The partial load of the engines allows for a high redundancy, whilst retaining power. Furthermore, the maintenance can be done very efficiently as the power packs can be exchanged. This means no more waiting and no extra costs. “Next to that, the bridge and the lower accommodation levels are open and have many windows. We believe this will improve safety, as you can have your eyes on the vessel at all times. The mono-fuel tanker also has two Veth Z-drives.”

Safety and reliability

The LNG tanks are placed ondeck, although slightly lower than the cargo deck. Calculations have proven the safety of the LNG tanks, in the case of a forward crash the vessel will be still before the impact reaches the tanks. Moreover, LNG is not as flammable as LPG (Liquid Petrol Gas) and will evaporate in contact with water, soil or air. Van Voorn: “As with all designs you need to put certain elements where they fit. Thanks to the placement the vessel is stable and requires less ballast water, this means less space is lost. The vessel will require a considerable investment, yet we believe it will be economically viable. Sustainable inland shipping is what we should work towards, especially regarding ever- changing rules and regulations.” As the vessel is very specific, it will require the crew to have special training. “You have to know what you are doing”, comments Peeters.

The project has many partners, during the initial stages specific knowledge was required. Vripack was one of the companies to be approached. They assisted in the design of the hull, which helps the low emission levels of the tanker. “The cooperation with Vripack offered us a different way of thinking. Other partners are IHC Merwede, Sandfirden Technics, New Future Transport, Veth, Alewijnse, Lloyd’s register and Cryonorm”, comments Van Voorn.

State of the art

Peters Shipyards owns the design of the Greenstream tanker and Intersteam Barging will facilitate the chartering and both companies remain committed to one another. Van Voorn: “What will the future be? Gas is cheaper and offers us a good economic outlook. It is time to move away from the presumptions about LNG and embrace this substance. Many countries use this fuel and we have translated this knowledge to design an exciting new development.” The Greenstream tanker is set to be a reliable, safe and state-of-art innovation for the inland shipping industry.

Rebecca McFedries

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