At the Nor-Shipping trade fair in Oslo today, partners in the “Green Corridor” Joint Industry Project (JIP) — BHP, Fortescue, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), Rio Tinto, SDARI, U-Ming, Woodside, and DNV GL — presented the results from stage one of their “Green Corridor” joint industry project (JIP), delivering a design based on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) fuel.
The JIP has demonstrated the commercial potential and technical feasibility of LNG-fuelled bulkers in a “green corridor” iron ore and coal trade between Australia and China. The result is an LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax design which is in the process of receiving Approval in Principle (AiP) from DNV GL.
“By having both charterers and ship owners as active partners in the JIP, we are also optimistic that this new design will materialize into firm orders in the near future,” said Morten Løvstad, DNV GL – Maritime Business Director Bulk Carriers.
The idea of developing LNG-fuelling infrastructure for the vessels operating on the Australia–China iron ore and coal trade route has been contemplated by major charterers, ship owners and operators for many years. As LNG production has climbed, especially in Australia, and in recognition of the upcoming IMO restrictions on sulphur emissions, the option of LNG as a single-system solution for emissions compliance has become ever more attractive.
Chinese ship designer SDARI developed the design of the 210,000 dwt Newcastlemax bulk carrier based on their highly energy efficient Green Dolphin design. Dual-fuel engines were quickly decided upon by the JIP partners, as this is a mature technology with multiple suppliers offering solutions, and the dual-fuel design providing operational redundancy.
As detailed in DNV GL’s 2017 Bulk Carrier Update, based on a mid cruising range of 14,000 to 18,000 nautical miles (i.e. from the load port to discharge port and back) and fuel consumption analyses an LNG fuel tank size of about 6,000 m3 was found to be optimal, with bunkering in Australia for the round trip. The analyses were carried out mainly for the iron ore trade, but also allow for the flexibility on some of the major coal trading routes. The said tank size not only caters for the Australia–China trade, but also has built-in flexibility for some occasional longer voyages.
Several locations for the LNG fuel tank were considered, the optimal solution being to have two LNG fuel tanks placed directly above the engine room and submerged a few metres below the main deck. This design offers protection for the fuel tanks, enhances fire protection, and does not reduce the cargo carrying capacity, even for volumetric cargoes such as coal.
“An important part of the JIP was conducting the financial feasibility study for the design,” said Mike Utsler, Woodside Chief Operations Officer. “We looked at a wide range of capital and operational costs, including LNG and low sulfur fuel oil price sensitivities, as well as conducting a high-level bunker supply chain assessment. Based on this we found that, under the most realistic scenario, the payback period for the design was under 10 years, and under the optimistic projection just 6.7 years.”
The new, innovative Newcastlemax design developed in the “Green Corridor” JIP offers unique solutions for cost efficient, safe and flexible operations. By gathering key stakeholders representing the wider value chain of iron ore and coal transportation, a more robust, commercially viable and safe LNG-fuelled bulk carrier design has been developed, to a stage where it is ready to serve as the outline specification for newbuilding orders in 2017.
Vessel main particulars:
Length overall: 300.0m
Scantling draught: 18.5m
Deadweight at scantling draught: 210,000t
Cargo holds volume: 225,000m3
LNG tanks volume: 6,000m3
Main engine: WINGD 6X72 DF MAN B&W 6G70ME-C9.5-GI
Class notation: DNV GL, +A1 BULKCARRIER ESP BC-A GRAB CSR, Holds 2, 4 ,6 and 8 may be empty, COAT-PSPC(B) GAS FUELLED
(Source: DNV GL)