Classification society ABS, OceanFinance and Scorpius Space Launch Company (SSLC) are joining forces to adapt composite technologies developed for the space industry to LNG shipping.
Under the SPACE TECH4SEA project, which is attracting more than EUR 1 million grant funding from the European Commission, the parties aim to apply composite technology, which is lighter and more cost-effective, as a competitive alternative in LNG as marine fuel designs, principally for short sea shipping.
“Existing LNG tank technology can make adoption of the fuel prohibitively expensive. This composite technology has proven itself in other industries; we are committed to learning how to safely apply those lessons to benefit the maritime industries,” said Patrick Janssens, ABS Vice President for Global Gas Solutions.
The three-year development project will adapt SSLC’S PRESSURMAXX composite tanks for marine applications based on its current use in a range of industries and more than 200 clients including NASA. The joint team’s goal is creating tanks which will attract new buildings and LNG as a marine fuel retrofits by cutting costs, reducing weight and increasing vessels’ cargo capacity.
The technology, which offers weight savings up to 80 percent over existing equivalent LNG tank designs and is not affected by corrosion, also introduces space technology safety standards to marine operations.
While the tanks are currently made by hand, the project aims to adopt a highly automated production line to ensure a competitive pricing level, the companies informed.