Münsterland LNG retrofit passes technical sea trials

Münsterland, a passenger ship converted to run on LNG for German ferry operator AG Ems, has completed technical sea trials.

Photo: AG Ems

In addition to bunkering the ship with LNG, the technical testing also included commissioning the new machinery for the first time.

All components of the new propulsion system from the gas tank, generators, the electric traction motors, the Azignel propellers and the auxiliary units have been installed in the newly built aft ship.

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“The fine-tuning can now take place in the interaction of the individual components,” Claus Hirsch, AG Ems inspector, said.

“The sailing characteristics and maneuverability of the 15 meter longer ship are very good,” Captain Dirk Saathoff added.

As on MV Ostfriesland, a type C liquid gas tank was also used here — the containers consist of an inner tank and another outer one, which is used for protection. In between, vacuum insulation ensures that the ambient conditions remain constant because the liquid gas is stored in the tank at -162 ° C and 5 bar pressure.

The size of the built-in special tank is new, because unlike the MS Ostfriesland, where there is a geometric volume of 45 cbm, the tank of the MS Münsterland holds 53 cbm. The larger volume was made possible by an enlarged inner diameter of the inner tank and improved insulation and thus a smaller layer width.

“The GVUs, i.e. the gas valve units, could now be accommodated in the tank installation room, so that this space in the engine room has become free”, Michael Baumfalk, AG Ems project lead, said.

MS Münsterland will be the third ship in the AG EMS group to run on environmentally friendly liquified natural gas. LNG consists of methane and is cooled down to minus 162 °C. LNG allows nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides to be reduced by 90% and 95%, as well as carbon dioxide by 20% and fine dust to be avoided almost completely.

“We have been referred to as first movers across the EU and we want to stay that way. This includes not only being the first to rely on LNG, but also consistently developing and pursuing it,” Bernhard Brons, AG Ems board member, pointed out.

Münsterland is expected to return to service in late January. It will operate again on the Eemshaven – Borkum route.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure as part of the implementation of the Federal Government’s Mobility and Fuel Strategy (MKS). The funding measure is coordinated by NOW GmbH.