Association Technique Maritime et Aéronautique

Numéro : 2742 - Year : 2019

Innovative sustainable LNG fuel ultra large container carrier & associated large LNG fuel bunker vessel

Martial CLAUDEPIERRE - Bureau Veritas - Shanghai (Chine)

Adnan EZZARHOUNI - GTT - Shanghai (Chine)

Tightening environmental regulations, setting limits worldwide on shipping emissions have increased the attractiveness of gas as a marine fuel and LNG has emerged as the principal alternative fuel option being adopted today.

Up to now, the use of LNG as fuel has been limited to small and mid-size ships. It was originally adopted by LNG carriers for the simple reason that the Boil-Off Gas naturally generated by the normal warming up of the cryogenic cargo had to be managed to avoid the rise of pressure. It represents a competitive energy as well. With a few exceptions, for larger vessels, only “LNG ready” ships have been developed, such as for tankers, large container carriers and Very Large Ore Carriers.  The main reasons being uncertainty of the LNG supply infrastructure, ensuring affordable LNG supply compared to other fuels, and extra CAPEX for dual fuel propulsion and auxiliaries. However, on the large container carrier market, the permanently moving economic and environmental pressure forces owners to innovate in order to comply and maintain profitably especially knowing that fuel cost can reach 50~60% of total OPEX.

In that perspective in mind, CMA CGM, one of the top three of the world’s largest container liners, has adopted a disruptive innovation by the use LNG as fuel for their largest new build container ships. This breakthrough project is crucial for the entire industry as it will demonstrate that compliance to stringent environmental constraint and increased economic advantage is possible.

The project includes nine LNG fueled Ultra Large Container Vessels of 22,000 TEU each, to be built in Shanghai at CSSC HZ and JN shipyards, featuring GTT’s Mark III containment system. The supply chain also includes an 18,600 m³ LNG bunker ship to deliver 0.3MTPA of LNG fuel.

The purpose of the paper is to review the existing LNG fueled fleet and available LNG bunkering infrastructure. In addition, an evaluation of the compliant options to meet with the new IMO emissions regulations will be presented as well as the rationale behind the choice of the LNG for large container liners which have fixed routes and are tightly scheduled.

The technical challenges of the world’s first ultra large LNG fuel container vessel, as well as the associated LNG bunkering ship will be explored. The paper will share the main technical features of Membrane LNG tanks and associated gas handling equipment for both the container vessels and the related bunkering ship. Some photos of the containers and bunker ship under construction here in China will also be presented.

This paper is written in English


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