The world’s first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) propelled icebreaker, being constructed for the Finnish Transport Agency, is progressing towards its planned handover in the northern winter of 2016. It underwent a naming ceremony late last year, and earlier this year it was floated out of its construction hall to move to an outfitting quay for final outfitting and commissioning.
The nearly 110 metres long vessel under construction at Helsinki Shipyard differs from previous icebreakers in various ways. Finnish technological innovations, such as ice-strengthened propulsion units and an effective oil recovery system integrated into the hull, have been used in the vessel design and construction. The unique icebreaker will be powered by dual-fuel engines (diesel/LNG), which will significantly reduce both carbon emissions and fuel costs. Upon completion, Polaris will be the most environmentally friendly icebreaker in the world.
The diesel-electric power plant includes two nine-cylinder Wärtsilä 9L34DF and two 12-cylinder Wärtsilä 12V34DF four-stroke medium speed dual-fuel gensets, and an eight-cylinder Wärtsilä 8L20DF auxiliary engine.
Fuel is stored in two vertical LNG tanks, with a combined capacity of 800 m3. That’s enough for 10 days operation on LNG before resorting to fuel oil.
“The new icebreaker features the highest technology and will be built especially to operate in the demanding winter conditions of the northernmost Baltic Sea. By being able to use LNG fuel, the vessel will be the most environmentally friendly icebreaker ever built,” remarked Esko Mustamäki, Managing Director of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard in 2014.
(Source: Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Inc.)