Ships of the (not so distant) future.
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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.