Wärtsilä advocates the use of dual fuel

Jun 30 2013

Total marine solutions and services provider Wärtsilä has received an order to supply a comprehensive solutions package for a series of hybrid gas carriers being built for Danish shipowner Evergas, formerly known as Eitzen Gas.

The advanced technology solution to be provided by Wärtsilä will make the vessels the most modern and environmentally sustainable LNG carriers ever built, the company claimed.

Up to eight and possibly 10 vessels of around 12,000 cu m to 17,000 cu m capacity gas carriers are being built at the Sinopacific Offshore & Engineering (SOE) shipyard in China. In addition to LNG, the ships will be able to carry and reliquefy ethane and LPG.

In addition, a series of 27,500 cu m LNGCs, capable of carrying ethane, LPG and LNG will be built. In connection with the latest orders, Evergas will use Wärtsilä´s DF engine propulsion system.

They are intended operate between Pennsylvania in the US and the Rafnes receiving plant on the West Coast of Norway.

The LNG will be carried in tanks on the deck, which can be used to store fuel and/or cargo. Wärtsilä will supply the cargo handling package, as well as the dual-fuel engines and propulsion equipment.

"The customer's essential requirements for these vessels are to achieve the operational and fuel efficiencies needed to optimise their operating costs, while at the same time complying with the upcoming Tier III environmental regulations," said Aaron Bresnahan, vice president sales, Wärtsilä Ship Power.

"The advanced technology solution to be provided by Wärtsilä, whereby the cargo handling system, the gas supply system and the propulsion machinery are fully integrated with each other, will make the vessels the most modern and environmentally sustainable LNG carriers ever built," he said.

Martin Ackermann, CEO of Evergas said, "We have enjoyed a lengthy and trusted relationship with Wärtsilä. This, together with Wärtsilä's relentless efforts in understanding and adapting to our demands, has enabled us to successfully achieve a total integrated solution. I am convinced that our DRAGON 27500 series will be a benchmark in the LNG carrier markets."


For example, efficiency and fuel savings will be gained through the Wärtsilä Energopac rudder, which because it streamlines the water flow from the propeller, lowers resistance and increases propulsion power.

The vessels will operate primarily use LNG as a source of power, using Wärtsilä dual-fuel engine technology. This will enable the vessels to comply with current and anticipated environmental legislation, including the IMO’s Tier III regulations.

The Wärtsilä technology, however, also provides operational flexibility and redundancy, since it allows the possibility to utilise various conventional fuels in addition to LNG. The integrated LNG fuel system enables the vessel to operate on natural gas independently of the cargo carried.

This integrated systems contract enables a range of individual Wärtsilä solutions to be combined into a fully optimised package. Engineering and delivery of the complete cargo plant in combination with the gas fuel supply system and propulsion plant is enabling Wärtsilä to optimise the complete vessels energy consumption.

For example, this is demonstrated where the LNG supply system is integrated with the cargo handling system so that it can be used to cool the cargo. In so doing, less energy and power is needed to keep the cargo temperature suitably low, thus providing a more efficient and environmentally sound overall system.

In conversation with Wärtsilä’s Peter Jantzen, head of life cycle solutions development and Jaakko Eskola, president, ship power & executive vice president Wärtsilä Corp, it was highlighted that the company has evolved into a total solution provider.

Apart from engines and propulsion systems Wärtsilä also offers a complete technical solution for vessels, including ship design, electrical & automation and global servicing. This capability has been further enhanced since acquiring companies, such as Hamworthy, Jantzen and Eskola said.

Indeed, Hamworthy has given the company an additional dimension in particular inenvironmental capabilities, they said, further adding to Wärtsilä’s offering of a complete technical solution in a one-stop shop operation, as illustrated by the Evergas package.

They emphasised that the time to convert to dual fuel is now, as the environmental regualations are here and building up towards 2016. Therefore, the next 10-15 years, will see a large quantity of newbuildings being fitted with dual fuel engines to meet these regulations in the ECA zones.

At present, many operators are concerned about infrastructure problems in converting vessels to LNG powered, such as bunkering stations – but this infrastructure is already partially established and will expand quickly over the coming years.

Operators would also prefer the flexibility of switching to other fuels for perceived operational and safety reasons, enabling them to operate in any geographical area irrespective of which fuel is available. Also, the ability to run on LNG in the ECA zones will be a major cost issue, as the use of diesel oil has been virtually ruled out in an ECA as it would be very costly, due to lack of availability and environmental levys.

The US is set to become a major supplier of gas, due to the discovery of huge shale gas reserves, which could change the way the world sees the use of LNG, Jantzen explained. The price level of fuel in the US will become highly competitive, offering substantial savings for those operators opting for a dual fuel solution.

However, the US is expected to first become self-sufficient in fuel supply, before looking to export gas for dual fuel use.

Norway, where the Evergas vessels will partly operate, is already way ahead of any other country in terms of infrastructure for gas supplies to its ferry and offshore supply vessel fuel markets.

Wärtsilä is able to offer a modular approach to dual fuel conversions of existing vessels. The age of the vessel will be a critical factor in any future conversion projects, Jantzen said.

For larger LNGCs, the tri-fuel option included in the current South Korean shipyard designs and dual fuel packages are the favoured propulsion system going forward. Jantzen claimed that the yards were developing the right product and that Wärtsilä was way ahead of the competition in 4-stroke dual fuel technology.

However, he warned that there were no quick fixes as an LNGC and its propulsion system is a long term project. “Operators need to see the future clearly and not go into a project half-baked,” he said.

For example, there would be around 5-10% extra capital expenditure needed per vessel to fit the new technology, but in the long term, the total economics look good. “Banks need to get on board,” he said. A commercial timeline for the vessel needs to be calculated and a proper business model presented to the banks on a case by case basis.

He summed up the future use of gas as a fuel by saying that the first message he wanted to put across was that the dual fuel technology was already a proven technology for nearly 20 years and has clocked up more than 7 mill running hours in vessels and power plants globally.

It is important to understand that the transition to LNG and dual fuel is happening today, he said and he urged operators to take a long term economic approach (total economics) to converting to LNG and dual fuel, as this provided a much better return on the investment.

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