Wärtsilä's technologies span the LNG value chain
Wärtsilä article August 2012
Producer: Mirja-Maija Santala, Media Manager, Wärtsilä Corporation
Wärtsilä provides the most complete offering of marine solutions for ship owners, shipyards and operators. The company’s involvement with LNG design and technology now extends from the point of gas extraction to its delivery to customers. Wärtsilä’s multi-fuel solutions offer full control over fuel choice without compromising performance.
With the acquisition of Hamworthy, Wärtsilä’s offerings now include small scale LNG liquefaction, regasification and LNG fuel systems. Combined with Wärtsilä’s dual-fuel engine technology this expanded scope of supply is delivering the benefits of LNG along with operational flexibility.
A string of new orders demonstrate the viability of Wärtsilä’s dual-fuel (DF) engines for a wide range of vessels. A new tug is being built for China National Offshore Oil Corporation and it will be the first tug in China to be powered by LNG. Additionally, the world’s most environmentally friendly passenger ferry in its class will sail on the Turku, Finland – Stockholm, Sweden route from 2013 with Wärtsilä’s LNG technology. The Viking Line vessel will be 210 metres in length and will carry a maximum of 2800 passengers.
Wärtsilä will also supply a complete propulsion package for a new 15,600m3 capacity LNG carrier being built at the Meyer Werft yard in Germany for Rotterdam-based liquefied gas transporter, Anthony Veder. This will be the first newbuild vessel with a DF engine mechanically driving the propeller.
When operating in gas mode, the NOx emissions from Wärtsilä’s DF engines are at least 85 per cent below those specified in current IMO regulations, and CO2 emissions are some 25 per cent less than those of a conventional marine engine running on diesel fuel. Additionally, the SOx and particle emissions are negligible.
Wärtsilä’s DF engines can be operated on natural gas, light fuel oil, or heavy fuel oil and switching between fuels can take place seamlessly during operation without loss of power or speed. Wärtsilä DF engines are designed to have the same output regardless of the fuel used. The engine range provides excellent propulsion efficiency with a very compact machinery assembly, giving obvious benefits for merchant vessels.
Wärtsilä has been developing LNG technology since the 1980s. “We don’t see any boundaries to accommodating LNG combustion technology on land or at sea. Yes, there are some challenges for sure, but there are no show stoppers,” says Alexandre Eykerman, sales director, LNG, Ship Power. “Wärtsilä’s involvement with design and technologies from upstream to consumers has shown us that this is true. We see challenges being overcome all along the supply chain as the benefits of LNG are being realised.”
Since their introduction in 2006, 65 per cent of all new LNG carriers have been fitted with Wärtsilä DF engines. Wärtsilä has recently achieved the milestone of supplying DF propulsion engines to 100 LNG carriers and has sold some 720 DF engines, accumulating six million running hours of experience with the technology.
Wärtsilä’s DF technology is not limited to new constructions. In October 2011, Wärtsilä completed a turnkey project with Tarbit Shipping of Sweden to convert the chemical tanker Bit Viking to LNG operation. The engines are connected directly to the propeller shafts through a reduction gearbox, thus avoiding the electrical losses that are an unavoidable feature of diesel-electric configurations. This enables a significant improvement in propulsion efficiency, reduced fuel consumption, and corresponding reductions in emissions.
LNG power is suitable for a wide range of vessels including inland, short sea shipping and deepsea cargo vessels. While current financial arguments focus on time spent in Emission Control Areas, there is also the option of LNG-powered auxiliaries for providing onboard power in port.
Wärtsilä and Shell Oil Company have signed a joint cooperation agreement aimed at promoting and accelerating the use of LNG as a marine fuel. Supplies of low cost LNG will be made available firstly in the US Gulf area and then further afield. Wärtsilä’s recent orders for power systems for four LNG fuelled offshore service vessels to be operated in the Gulf of Mexico by Harvey Gulf demonstrate that the move to LNG as a marine fuel in the US has begun.
Hamworthy completes Wärtsilä’s offering in the entire gas value chain with the provision of upstream technology including submerged pumps, small scale LNG liquefaction, regasification and LNG fuel systems. This year the company secured a contract to supply its unique two loop technology where the propane used to heat the LNG is re-heated by seawater for the third Höegh LNG Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) under construction at Hyundai Heavy Industries.
The research and development efforts of Wärtsilä and Hamworthy are now combined and a key area of current activity relates to systems supporting the LNG chain. “We expect rapid growth in the future,” says Mr Eykerman. “A growing focus on environmental performance by the maritime power and power industries will see LNG featuring in future fuel decisions.”