An innovative liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel tank system developed by Newport Shipping for crude tankers and bulkers has gained class approval from DNV. The approval will facilitate retrofits of such vessels in line with new environmental requirements to cut maritime emissions.
The AIP affirms the technical feasibility of the concept for the VLCC and Capesize vessel classes and paves the way for it to be implemented in design work on retrofits by the UK-based ship repair and retrofitting group.
This marks a significant milestone for Newport Shipping, positioning it to take a significant role in the rapidly emerging market to adapt vessel fuel systems for LNG that has seen only a few such retrofits globally to date.
“LNG is one of the cleanest transition fuels currently available globally and can be used with minimum modifications to a ship,” said Newport Shipping’s managing director Lianghui Xia. “CO2 emissions can be reduced by between 20 and 30 per cent just by switching to LNG without installing any other equipment.”
As well as environmental gains, there are also significant cost benefits as LNG is much cheaper than most fuels and there is already a worldwide bunkering network in place offering this fuel at competitive prices, he pointed out.
Newport Shipping’s concept is based on deck-mounted LNG tanks that can be installed without major modifications to the vessel hull, thereby reducing installation costs, as part of a retrofit solution using a dual-fuel engine that would also be suitable for future use of carbon-neutral methane such as bio-LNG.
Tank capacity, which is based on a typical ship profile and operating route, is sufficient for a single voyage prior to refuelling.
Conversion of the existing global merchant shipping fleet of around 100,000 vessels for use of alternative fuels is no longer an option, but an economic necessity for shipowners as reducing emissions will be a rite of passage for trading in a low-carbon shipping future.
A long-term payment plan over 5 to 7 years on 60 per cent of the total cost is offered to clients for its LNG retrofit solution.