Finnish ship designer Deltamarin, Greek dry bulk shipping specialist Arista Shipping, the Houston-based classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), and French liquefied natural gas (LNG) membrane containment system designer GTT have teamed up on a project to equip dry bulk carriers of the future with LNG propulsion.
The Project Forward, led by the Athens-based Arista Shipping, began officially in May this year. The aim is to develop a commercially feasible LNG-powered dry bulk carrier design capable of complying with International Maritime Organization’s Energy Efficiency Design Index 2025 standards, NOx Tier III and Marpol Annex VI SOx emission levels.
“Project Forward aims to become a milestone for the shipping industry and in particular for owners and operators of cargoships,” said Arista Shipping Principal Alexander P. Panagopulos.
“Owners must decide within the next 5-10 years whether gas as fuel is a practical means of compliance with lower emissions standards and this project will enable all of us to understand its feasibility.”
The concept design will be based on the highly-optimised Deltamarin B.Delta design suitable for ships between 82,000 and 210,000dwt. It will employ GTT’s membrane-type LNG tanks for fuel containment.
“Compliance with stricter environmental regulations has led owners to consider the potential of using LNG as fuel for cargo vessel newbuildings,” said Deltamarin Managing Director Mika Laurilehto.
“There is a clear need to turn this potential into a proven solution for the dry bulk carriers that make up such a large proportion of the world fleet.”
The project will also address the existing dry bulk fleet by developing a modularized LNG fuel retrofit solution for bulk carriers of various sizes.
ABS will conduct concept and detail design approvals according to its rules for bulk carriers and gas-powered ships.
“ABS has gained valuable insights from real-world experience classing the world’s first deepsea ships powered by LNG,” said ABS Vice President of Global Gas Solutions Patrick Janssens.
“Our work with owners, designers and shipyards on LNG as fuel and LNG-ready projects brings unique value to Project Forward in enabling the safe adoption of this new fuel type.”
Project Forward will include a number of stages, with a first time horizon of two years’ applied research and development work. Initial research indicates that the expected emission reductions from Project Forward could be 40% for CO2, 80% for NOx and 98% for SOx.
“It is time for the shipping industry to move forward and embrace the potential of gas-fuelled merchant ships,” said GTT Vice President LNG as Fuel division Jacques Danton.
“At this time, we can recognise market leaders launching LNG projects now in order to be the first on the learning curve. During the ramp up phase of LNG as fuel, autonomy will be a key feature for integrated solutions as provided by membrane technology”.