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March 22, 2010

Wärtsilä and SHI to develop LNG-fueled ships

Wärtsilä and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) have signed a cooperation agreement to develop gas-fueled merchant vessels. The intention is to jointly develop next-generation ships with efficient and competitive propulsion machinery concepts that meet or exceed the demands of future environmental regulations.

The focus of the joint study will be on utilizing liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a fuel for operating vessels.

Wärtsilä's input will be related to the propulsion machinery, with particular reference to large bore, dual-fuel engines combined with mechanical propulsion solutions. SHI will concentrate on the design of highly efficient vessels incorporating fuel storage facilities and gas-powered propulsion machinery.

Vessels to be evaluated include crude oil tankers, for which both optimum propulsion concepts and the performance benefits achieved using LNG as fuel, will be assessed.

The agreement comes within weeks of the signing of a development agreement between MAN Diesel and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. (DSME) to enable LNG to be used as a fuel in ships other than LNG carriers. The two companies will jointly develop and exploit the adaptation of DSME's high-pressure cryogenic gas-supply system for installation with MAN B&W ME-GI engines.

While HFO represents the cheapest available source of primary energy, notes Wärtsilä, engines running on HFO have been, and still are, the market standard for propulsion and electric power generation in merchant vessels. future environmental regulations will require technologies with lower levels of emissions. ECAs, where emissions of NOx, SOx and particulates will be regulated, have been announced under IMO Tier III, and the number of ECAs in different regions of the world is expected to rise.

Increasingly tough environmental regulations will open up opportunities for new solutions incorporating cost-efficient technology, and this could trigger a substantial shift towards gas-powered dual-fuel vessels. The need to invest in emissions-abatement technology will make the use of liquid fuels increasingly expensive in the future. From a price perspective, LNG is already competitive with liquid fuels, but further investment in the supply chain is necessary to encourage widespread use in the shipping industry.

"Compared to conventional engines running on heavy fuel oil (HFO), Wärtsilä's dual-fuel engine technology offers 20-25% lower CO2 emissions, 90% lower NOx emissions and almost negligible SOx and particulate emissions," says Jaakko Eskola, Group Vice President, Wärtsilä Ship Power. "We are the market leader in dual-fuel engine technology and deliveries, and our engine portfolio covers the majority of merchant vessel propulsion needs. In gas mode, our dual-fuel engines already comply with the IMO's Tier III regulations which come into force in 2016."

SHI will be developing a highly efficient and environmentally friendly gas-fuelled ship with a new hull form and propulsion systems. It will include a fuel gas storage and supply system, known as Samsung FuGaS. As well as identifying the major vessel parameters, SHI will provide input for the specifications regarding the propulsion system and fuel storage and handling systems, in addition to assisting with economic evaluations.

"We have delivered hundreds of vessels from virtually every ship category to customers worldwide, and we lead the industry in both the number of ships built and dock turnover time, a key measure of efficiency," says K. S. Lee (Vice President, Project Planning Team at SHI ). "We are also the leader in constructing next-generation LNG vessels using dual-fuel engines, a very fuel-efficient and environmentally-sound solution which requires significant technological expertise. As an advanced shipbuilder for environmentally friendly vessels, we look forward to transferring our competence in LNG technology from LNG carriers to LNG-powered merchant vessels."


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