Contributing Together to a Cleaner Future
On 19 June the festive recommissioning ceremony of the coupled push-tow combination Eiger-Nordwand took place in Rotterdam. A special occasion, as it is the first container inland vessel in the world refitted to LNG. Maritime by Holland Magazine attended the ceremony and spoke to the project partners about this unique, innovative project.
Eiger-Nordwand was due for repowering and owner Danser Group decided to refit the vessel to LNG. They came in contact with Wartsila, who already has ten years of experience – more than 1,000 engines and ten million operational hours – with dual-fuel engines for seagoing vessels. Danser wanted a turnkey solution and Koedood Dieselservice, since about a year dealer of Wartsila engines, became the point of contact, contracted in 2013. Director Arie Koedood: “That sounds easier than it was. It was not only about the installation of the engine. The legislation for inland vessels on LNG is not in place yet, the Central Commission for the Navigation on the Rhine – CCNR – in Strasbourg grants exemptions based on the international gas code for seagoing vessels. We visited the CCNR three times before receiving this document last February, just shortly before we started the work on Eiger-Nordwand. Exiting times, especially because we already ordered the 60,000 litre LNG tank at Cryonorm. We tried to delay orders as much as possible, as we were not sure how long it would take to receive the exemption document.” The Dutch government plans to have legislation regarding safety and sailing on LNG on inland waterways ready by the end of this year.
This is also why Blokland non-ferro received the contract to supply the box coolers quite late. Sales manager Bram Fase: “It was a last-minute order, but that is one of our strengths, as we can deliver from stock.” Koedood adds: “We have been doing business with Blokland non-ferro for over 25 years. Delivery time of coolers is essential when doing repowering, therefore a reliable partner who can deliver good products fast is important.” Next to delivering the box coolers, Blokland non-ferro also supplied the heat exchangers for the LNG installation to Cryonorm.
Wartsila supplied the two 6L20DF main engines, using the same techniques as in the bigger engines for seagoing vessels. Bram Kruyt, business director inland waterways at Wartsila explains: “The installation and the other systems make the difference. An inland vessel has less space to install the engines. Together with Koedood and Danser, we looked at the best way to install the LNG system without sacrificing too much space for the containers.” The LNG tank is placed semi-below deck, separated from the cargo hold by a separation wall. The engine foundation needed to be altered, a new rear bulkhead was installed and the drive shaft was shortened. To ensure the safety on board in case of a leak, the top as well as the sides of the tank room are open and the room is equipped with a mechanical ventilation system, that will remove the gas from the vessel within 240 seconds. In case of problems with the gas supply the dual fuel engine switches to diesel oil.
Kruyt: “Our engine is not a converted diesel engine, but specially developed for the use of LNG. It is a double-walled engine, which makes the operation safe as this prevents the leaking of gas from the engine to the engine room. Another aspect of safety and also an economical advantage of the dual fuel engine is the immediate switch to diesel oil when a problem occurs regarding the LNG supply. A vessel that purely sails on LNG, needs to have two separate engine rooms to be able to continue operations when one of the engine fails.” The vessel is 95 per cent to 99 per cent powered by LNG.
One of the reasons Danser Group chose to refit their vessel with dual fuel engines on LNG is the environment. Director Ben Maelissa commented during the festive ceremony about the refit: “We want to contribute to sustainability, starting with sustainability certificates and now with our vessel on LNG. You have to look to the future, we simply started the project supported by and in cooperation with several parties. This is the first vessel, but certainly not the last. With this refit, we are setting the mark in the area of ecological and economical sustainability on the European waterways.” Koedood: “Refitting to LNG means investing a lot, you need guts and money to do so. Danser is a company that wants to be a frontrunner in the area of innovation and sustainability, and also we as Koedood want to focus on sustainable projects.” Fase adds: “It is also expected that companies that operate with corporate social responsibility in mind, will also switch to the sustainable transport of their goods.” Kruyt: “Wartsila uses its experience with dual fuel engines to green the inland shipping industry with this technology.”
Part of European projects
As regulations regarding emissions will become stricter in the future, Danser will be prepared for them: the expected emission reduction of Eiger-Nordwand will be 20 per cent less CO,, 85 per cent less NOx and 99 per cent less particulate matter. Next to that, Danser will save on fuel costs; it is expected that based on the price difference between diesel oil and LNG of 20 per cent, the shipping company will earn back its investment within seven years. Kruyt: “However, this differs from vessel to vessel. It depends on the refit costs, but also on the engine hours per year. These figures were calculated through the analyses of MariTIM Eco2 Inland Vessel, the Dutch-German cooperation project that is supported by the European INTERREG programme. Wártsilá acts as the project coordinator.” The MariTIM project aims to develop a calculation system that can calculate all kind of options regarding propulsion for individual inland shipping vessels to determine which option is most suitable for any kind of inland vessel. Eiger-Nordwand is one of the four project vessels. Koedood Dieselservice is also one of the partners in this project which will run until March 2015, and received quite some attention because of it: “Other Dutch market parties as well as delegations from Germany and Switzerland paid us a visit, as they are very interested in LNG. It is a hot topic.”
Next to that, Eiger-Nordwand takes part in the LNG Masterplan for Rhine, Meuse and Danube, initiated by Pro Danube Management and the Port of Rotterdam as part of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), which was founded to support the build and modernisation of the transport infrastructure in the European Union. The LNG Masterplan aims to create a platform for the cooperation of authorities and industry stakeholders with the purpose to facilitate the creation of a harmonised European regulatory framework for LNG as fuel and cargo in inland navigation, and to promote the introduction of LNG as a fuel and cargo for the inland shipping industry. 50 per cent of the gas-related components Eiger-Nordwand were financed by TEN-T and the vessel is the first finished LNG project within the LNG Masterplan. Sophie Cabanis, policy officer at DG MOVE – Mobility and Transport from the European Commission was also present during the festivities on 19 June as the project was supported by European funds. She said: “The project is a technical accomplishment, that paves the way for future refits. The project is part of the LNG Masterplan and the European Union has big expectations that this project will boost LNG. The European Union supports the search for and the use of new fuels, and especially LNG, in the transport sector. Eiger-Nordwand demonstrates the progress that is being made, but it is only the beginning.”
Fuel of the future
LNG is definitely seen as the fuel of the future and is especially appealing to larger vessels. Koedood: “Greening the maritime industry is slowly but surely continuing and LNG plays a major role in this. By only sailing on diesel engines, you will not make it. You need soot filters, catalysts, after-treatments and these measurements cannot be earned back. LNG is the only sustainable option with a realistic cost-recovery model.” Next to that LNG is widely available, whereas diesel oil will become scarce in the future. Koedood: “We have invested a lot of time, money and energy in this project, because we really believe in LNG, but currently the economic situation works against us a little bit, as there is little money available in the inland shipping industry. It will surely happen, but it will be in the long term. We are ready for the next ship owner, just send us the next potential customer!” Fase adds: “There are several newbuilding projects lined up, but they are pending because of the legislation.”
Khalid Tachi, managing director at the Expertise and Innovation Centre Inland Barging EICB said on 19 June: “LNG is one of the few techniques with a cost-recovery model. Research shows that about 300 vessels in the Netherlands have a business case to refit to LNG.” According to Koedood, these vessels account for about 25 per cent of the emissions: “So if you can convince them to make this investment, it will make a difference. You cannot force them, but let’s hope they will follow up.”
Doing it together
All parties are sincerely pleased about the cooperation. Koedood: “We closely worked together with our client, Danser, but also with the suppliers: Wártsilá, Blokland non-ferro, Cryonorm, EMS, who were responsible for the electric installations, and WindeX who supplied the ventilation system. We deliberated a lot to find the best engineering solutions. Also, we consulted Gerard Deen, who has a vast experience with LNG due to his inland vessel Argonon. From the start we explained the importance of the project to all parties and we chose our suppliers carefully. Everyone did their utmost and the project and the cooperation went as well as I expected. Well, actually it went even better than I had hoped.” Kruyt can only agree: “From the bottom of my heart, I can only say that it was a very good and interesting project. A project is only successful when the cooperation goes well, everyone brings in his own expertise and that makes you strong as a team. Time is always of the essence, but it never diminished the good atmosphere. Teamwork is very important during a refit to be able to solve all puzzles well.”
The whole installation took ten weeks, late June the vessel bunkered gas and did trial runs to regulate the gas. In the meantime, Eiger-Nordwand re-joined the Danser fleet to sail the Rhine between Rotterdam and Basel. As the vessel is one of the four pilot vessels, measurements will be done and analyses will be made in the framework of MariTIM to see if the calculations are correct and the predicted expectations will be met.
Gail van den Hanenberg