Ships of the (not so distant) future…
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the original author or contributor. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the UK P&I Club.
At this year’s NOR-Shipping, ships of the future featured heavily, with several new projects being unveiled.
DNV-GL presented the results of phase two of their joint industry project, PERFECt, which is looking into the potential of developing an electric-driven 20,000 TEU boxship using an LNG-fuelled combined cycle gas and steam turbine electric power plant….basically using LNG to create electricity. Results seem promising so a project to keep your eye on!
Now using LNG as a propulsion mechanism for vessels is clearly not new idea – most LNG carriers run this way and a couple of years ago this was pegged as the next step for boxships, but then oil prices dropped and everything went a bit quiet. Now, along with PERFECt, an LNG conversion of a boxship is already in progress! The Wes Amelie, a 1036 TEU feeder vessel, is currently being fitted with LNG dual fuel propulsion system and is scheduled to re-enter service in the second half of July. If the conversion is successful, her Owners hope to also convert her sister ships.
Some sectors are already ahead of the curve – several ferry operators have embraced a greener fuel system with the M/S Helgoland in active service since 2015 with an LNG propulsion system. Norweigan operator, the Fjords, has gone one step further (they already have a hybrid diesel-electric vessel in service) and is in the process of building an all-electric passenger vessel, aptly named the Future of the Fjords.
With the implementation of a global sulphur fuel cap by 2020, I think we’ll be seeing a lot more projects like these emerging in the next couple of years as shipowners and operators again looking to alternative methods of propulsion and fuel efficiency.