FEBRUARY 5, 2013 — For the Washington State Department of Transportation it boils down to the bottom line. "Washington State Ferries burns more than 17 million gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel each year – and it's our fastest growing operating expense," says Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Assistant Secretary David Moseley. "LNG has the potential to significantly reduce emissions and the cost of fuel."
LNG or Liquefied Natural Gas as a fuel is a promising, but is a relatively new trend. The DNV-classed Glutra was the first ferry to use LNG as fuel back in 2000. To ensure that the safety, security and operational challenges of such a move is handled in a responsible manner, Washington State Ferries, Seattle, WA, has partnered with DNV, which has extensive experience with LNG-fueled vessels and the infrastructure they require.
WSF has received conceptual approval from the U.S. Coast Guard to retrofit the propulsion system with new engines on the six Issaquah Class ferries to use LNG as a source of fuel. These vessels would be fueled by trucking in LNG from sources in British Columbia or the Pacific Northwest. Image shows LNG tanks on top deck of Issaquah Class ferry
DNV has taken a leading role in making LNG as a fuel safe and viable. Of the 37 LNG fueled vessels now operating worldwide, 35 have been built to DNV's standards. Of these, 16 are car/passenger ferries. Particularly for short-sea shipping, LNG technology can make a big difference quickly, when it comes to reducing harmful emissions.
"As the biggest ferry operator in the U.S,, and the third biggest in the world, WSF can really lead the way for its industry," says Kenneth Vareide who is Director of DNV's maritime operations in North America. "In DNV, we can now clearly see a tipping point when it comes to global interest in LNG-fueled ships. Knowing that LNG as a fuel helps reduce emissions and costs, our team of researchers, engineers, and business analysts are looking forward to assisting WSF and other companies with managing risks related to their LNG operations
"I am pleased to have DNV aboard to assist Washington State Ferries in this important look at liquefied natural gas a possible fuel for the fleet, and look forward to these next steps that WSF will take with DNV," says Moseley.
Other U.S. ship operators have already jumped into the LNG pool. As we reported earlier, Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE) has already signed separate contracts to build at least two 3,100 TEU dual fuel containerships at NASSCO, San Diego, CA, as well as to retrofit two existing Orca Class Roll-On/Roll-Off ships with the San Diego shipbuilder. Under the newbuild contract, TOTE holds options to build three more 3,100-TEU containerships.
Harvey Gulf International Marine, New Orleans, LA, is building five 302 ft dual fuel Platform Supply Vessels at TY Offshore, Gulfport, MS. Those vessels are being built to ABS Class. Harvey Gulf International Marine also holds options to build five additional PSVs.
North of the border, Canadian operator Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) is building the first North American ferry to be powered by LNG. The ship is being built by Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani in Italy and will be used on routes crossing the St. Lawrence River. The ferry vessel is scheduled for delivery by the end of 2014.
Steerprop Ltd. has been contracted to deliver two SP 120 ECO CRP propulsors. Each of these propulsors has a power rating 7,000 kW.