Shell, Wärtsilä, Hudong-Zhonghua launch new hybrid electric LNG carrier design

Shell Shipping and Maritime, CSSC Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding and Wärtsilä Marine have launched a new hybrid electric liquified natural gas (LNG) carrier design.


As disclosed, the companies launched the new vessel design at this week’s Gastech 2023 in Singapore.

The project is a result of a broad industry collaboration across the entire value chain, including contributions from Shell Shipping and Maritime, CSSC Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, and Wärtsilä.

The compact propulsion system enables a 185,000 cbm cargo capacity within the standard dimensions and displacement of a 174,000 cbm vessel design.

Although LNG carriers are designed for a speed of 19.5 knots, several sources indicate the current average sailing speed to be around 15 knots. This means that when applying the current 2-stroke solutions they are not operating optimally – and therefore, their emissions are higher, according to Wärtsilä.

Considering the actual operating profile of today’s LNG carriers, the new, modular hybrid electric design will achieve the following, approximate savings:

  • reduction of approximately 10% in fuel consumption;
  • 15% in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to current powering solutions and the actual operating profile of LNG carriers trading in today’s market;
  • over 20% of reduction in methane slip.

The modular, electrified, and hybridised power system is expected to offer greater efficiency and lower emissions across all vessel operating conditions.

Additionally, it will offer greater operational flexibility and possibilities to efficiently integrate future decarbonisation technologies.

Electric propulsion has been in use in many shipping segments for several decades and is highly proven technology including in the large LNG carrier segment where there are approximately 230 vessels in operation today with electric propulsion.

There has recently been a clear increase in the uptake of hybrid electric propulsion as an alternative to mechanical propulsion in segments such as small merchant vessels and ferries as owners invest in more flexible and future proof solutions.

Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding has recently received approval in principle for its new LNG carrier design, currently the world’s largest with 271,000 cubic meters of cargo tank capacity.  Four major classification societies American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), DNV, Lloyd’s register (LR), and Bureau Veritas (BV) have issued the AiP.

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