LR has awarded Approval in Principle (AiP) to Empresa Naviera Elcano for their patented steam-to-hybrid conversion design for the transformation of steam turbine LNG carriers to a dual-fuelled propulsion system.
The transformation consists of a modification to the propulsion and electrical power generation system, upgrading the vessel from steam powered to a hybrid system with a steam turbine and dual fuel generator. The dual fuel generator will supply electrical power to the ship’s switchboard with electric propulsion motor/s coupled to the ship’s propulsion gear box/shaft. The hybrid system also includes devices that can recover energy from the dual fuel generator exhaust gases and engine cooling systems, which will be integrated into the existing steam plant systems.
The conversion could benefit the one-in-three LNG carriers that rely on steam propulsion and are currently at risk of being non-compliant with the IMO’s EEXI and CII regulations, without the need to scrap any part of the original steam propulsion system.
Elcano’s solution will ensure the steam turbine LNG fleet will meet EEXI MARPOL regulations by substantially reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on converted vessels, prioritising both energy security and climate alignment for the maritime industry. Emission reduction and energy savings will increase dramatically if a vessels conversion includes the retrofitting of a reliquefication plant driven by a dual fuel generator. This will increase efficiency by minimising the vessels use of a steam dump system.
LR awarded this AiP following extensive testing assessment of the conversion design. The assessments found the available shaft power is 27% greater compared to the limited power for the vessel without the hybrid system and that the propulsion and electrical power are produced more efficiently, resulting in a substantial reduction in GHG emissions.
Andy McKeran, Chief Commercial Officer, Lloyd’s Register, said:
“Around a third of the LNG fleet stand to benefit from this technology solution that has been developed by Elcano. As the most prominent class partner in LNG shipping, we applaud the novelty and the timing of this innovation which can extend the life of LNG carriers that rely on steam propulsion and are at risk of being non-compliant with the IMO’s EEXI and CII regulations.
Panos Mitrou, Global Gas Segment Manager, Lloyd’s Register, said:
“We are proud to award Approval in Principle to Elcano for their pioneering steam-to-hybrid conversion design. Through LR’s thorough analysis of the design’s conversion method, we established that the transformation will significantly reduce GHG emissions from steam powered LNG carriers, allowing maritime to pursue energy security while staying on track with climate regulations.
“By de-risking this option, we can prolong the service and improve the emissions profile and productivity of the fleet in times where every ship counts in battling the energy crisis. Shipowners will also directly benefit from averting loss of income and asset devaluation.”
Juan M. Cordeiro, Vice-Chairman and CEO, Elcano, said:
“One of my priorities is to encourage and promote innovative ideas and highly efficient designs that provide a differentiating factor for the clients, especially in today’s situation, when transition to sustainability in maritime transport is vital.”
Alberto Fernández, Corporate Engineering Director, Elcano said:
“This is a significant milestone for Elcano and demonstrates our commitment with innovation by developing a cost-effective solution to maintain in efficient and reliable operation the existing steam LNGC fleet in full compliance with the EEXI regulations, without speed reduction, and improving its CII rating.”
F.J. Saéz Parga, GSA Director (former Elcano Corporate Fleet Director), said:
“This special project has been developed by a shipowner from a shipowner perspective, proposing a feasible, easy to implement conversion option for new regulations compliance and fuel saving in the full operating range. We firmly believe that it is not time to limit nor downgrade the capabilities of the very reliable existing steam LNG carriers.”