DSME installs world’s 1st high-manganese steel LNG fuel tanks on VLCC

South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and compatriot steel-making company POSCO have hit a new milestone in their technological collaboration to build eco-friendly dual-fuel propulsion vessels.

Photo: DSME

After more than 10 years of joint research with POSCO, DSME applied high-manganese steel to LNG fuel tanks for the first time in the global shipbuilding industry.

LNG fuel tanks are the core equipment for eco-friendly dual-fuel ships.

On 16 June, DSME held a ceremony to install IMO Type-C LNG fuel tanks using high-manganese steel on a very large crude oil carrier (VLCC).

Photo: DSME

Until now, materials such as Invar, aluminum and stainless steel have been used for cargo holds and fuel tanks that withstand liquefied natural gas at cryogenic conditions (-163℃).

However, they had disadvantages such as high price, difficult fabrication process, and low strength. The newly developed high manganese steel LNG fuel tank can overcome these shortcomings. It has a lower price than conventional materials, and has high strength and wear resistance as well as a good performance at cryogenic temperatures.

For this reason, high-manganese steel has been attracting attention from the industry as the next generation material for LNG fuel tanks. Both companies have been developing tank-related technologies together in the entire process from pre-treatment, and welding to the use of high-manganese steel as LNG fuel tanks.

Finally, after processability verification and mass production, they succeeded in installing it on board vessels. As a result, the two companies have established Korea’s LNG fuel tank ecosystem focused on high-manganese steel to secure national competitiveness in materials, parts and equipment industries.

Recently, as eco-friendly policies such as carbon dioxide reduction are being strengthened around the world, ships are also switching to LNG as fuel. In such an environment, all ships ordered from DSME this year are eco-friendly ships that use LNG as fuel.

In addition, high-manganese steel LNG fuel tank manufacturing technology would be valuable for the Korean shipbuilder as it is a purely domestic technology, DSME explained.

In the future, if price competitiveness is secured through mass production of high manganese steel. What is more, technological independence will be possible in the production of LNG cargo holds and the technology is evaluated as a great stepping stone for strengthening the competitiveness of the Korean shipbuilding industry.

“DSME … has set another milestone this time. We believe it will lead to strengthening the competitiveness of the entire shipbuilding industry in Korea because it can expand its use throughout the shipbuilding sector,” Park Du-Seon, president & CEO of DSME, commented.

“We are … delighted by the successful mass production of high manganese steel, which is a unique material of Korea, to LNG propulsion ships. Finally, the supply chain of high-manganese steel LNG storage tanks, including steel maker, shipbuilder and tank manufacturers, has been completed. I believe this will play a big role in the future eco-friendly ship market,” Jong-kyo Choi, executive vice president of POSCO, said.

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