LNG dual-fueled and ammonia-ready VLCC gets nod from BV

An LNG dual-fueled and ammonia fuel prepared very large crude carrier (VLCC), developed jointly by China Merchants Energy Shipping (CMES), TotalEnergies, Dalian Shipbuilding Industry (DSIC), and GTT has received approval from the Bureau Veritas classification society.

BV AIP CMES DSIC
Image courtesy: BV

The approval in principle (AiP) was awarded at a JDP Delivery Ceremony held at DSIC in Dalian on 27 September 2022.

The project, launched in 2021, evaluated the environmental, financial, technical, and regulatory implications of an LNG dual-fueled VLCC design being prepared for later conversion to ammonia.

The vessel design features an integrated GTT Mark III membrane containment technology. The fuel tank has been relocated under the main deck to avoid weather exposure, piracy risk and at the same time lower the propulsion systems’ center of gravity.
 
As informed, the storage tank is compatible with liquid ammonia fuel, giving the owner and charterer greater operational flexibility.

The tank capacity is flexible from 9,000 cbm to 14,000 cbm based on VLCC worldwide shipping routes and complies with the strength requirements of both LNG and ammonia fuels. Endurance with LNG fuel starts from 23,000 nm, while ammonia fuel starts from 17,000 nm at design condition.

“We are very proud to have developed this new generation of LNG and NH3 fuelled VLCCs thanks to the expertise of the market’s key players. This technology illustrates GTT’s ambition to support, with its innovation, the maritime industry in facing the challenges of energy transition. This concept of multi-fuel VLCC with enhanced endurance not only enables safer and more efficient operations, but also offers greater bunkering flexibility for ship owners and charterers towards a carbon-free future,” Adnan Ezzarhouni, General Manager of GTT, said.

“The achievement today is a milestone of CMES’ Path to zero-carbon shipping. It is showing our commitment to providing environment-friendly energy transportation service for our worldwide customers. United as one, the joint team is building up not only a vessel  but also a greener future for our offspring. With all supports and trusts from our partners Total Energies, GTT, BV and DSIC shipyard, we are confident on making this latest generation VLCC come true soon,” Wu Jianyi, CMES Technical Director, said.

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The project has also won BV’s LNGfuel dual-fuel, Ammonia-prepared notations. The design has an EEDI of more than 40% under baseline, NOX emissions meet the Tier III requirements, and the estimated CII is projected to be rated A by 2030, the developers said.

Earlier this year, BV and energy major TotalEnergies completed a joint study aiming at de-risking the use of ammonia as a marine fuel, with a specific focus on leak mitigation and treatment.

The study looked at different leak scenarios for single-wall and double-wall containment, as well as during bunkering operations – providing key insights on the efficiency of ventilation and vapour processing systems, the size of safety zones needed, and the health risks to people exposed to leaks.

The partners also investigated what concentrations of ammonia in the air would be problematic and compared those levels to LNG. The LNG-fueled tanker served as the model for the comparison, showing a stark contrast between the two fuels.

As explained, LNG becomes dangerous at around 50,000 parts per million (ppm), while ammonia starts to have health effects above 30 ppm when permanently exposed, or around 300 ppm when exposed for one hour.

Based on this finding, BV noted that unless modifications are made to the design, safety distances should be much greater for ammonia than LNG.

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