Supporting Innovation in LNG Carriers

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The transportation of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) takes up a new dimension as major LNG carrier builders finds a more reliable building methodology. This initiative is under the supportive collaboration of GTT, a LNG carrier licensing company, and Joint Development Project (JDP) to mentor and inspect LNG carriers built with GTT membranes. Also. Lloyd’s Register (LR) teams up with GTT to improve the general shipping standards and performances.

GTT Membrane

This technology was developed to enable a cost effective shipping of LNG using bulk loading of vessels. The purpose of GTT membrane is to store LNG at cryogenic temperature conditions i.e. close to -163 degree C so that it allows LNG carriers to transport them in large volumes.

To overcome the adverse effects that might result from the cryogenic temperature conditions of LNG, these envelopes also known as membrane containers, must be coated with a cryogenic lining to bear dead loads.

This critical lining also ensures that the vessel’s hull is completely isolated from the liquid cargo being transported while eliminating the leakage that might otherwise result from evaporation.

Technology evaluation

The Joint Development Project (JDP) in place of China Merchant Heavy Industry (CMHI) is designing and building a 80000 LNG carrier, which has a promising result from its first building phase. According to LNG Construction Assessment with the Gap Analysis performed by LR, this carrier satisfies all 23 assessment criteria which is a compliment to CMHI’s efforts. Due to this success it also holds an additional responsibility to verify CMHI’s ability to build such GTT membrane LNG carrier ships that are seaworthy.

As a reward for their success in the first phase of building such reliable GTT membrane ships, JDP has extended their scope to develop another 175000 LNG carrier. A formal approval to go head with 175000 LNG carrier design was granted during a ceremony at Marintec China 2017 held in Shanghai, where LR shared an approval in principle (AiP) for the 80000 LNG carrier design and the 175000 LNG carrier design.

Also, LR was requested by project partners to carry out an assessment of the capability of CMHI to build LNG carriers using GTT membrane tanks, partnering with GTT licensee Gabadi. The LNG carrier ships were assessed for the factors such as fabrication, design, project management, procurement, and in particular the placement of GTT membrane tanks as proposed by Gabadi and CMHI.

What’s next?

These LR’s analysis sets up a standard for the upcoming development of GTT membrane ships. The LNG carrier design also boosts the confidence of shipbuilding industry professionals, such as CMHI, to build such carriers in the future.

Apart from building LNG carriers capable of shipping LNG using the promising GTT membrane, CMHI joins hands with LR to perform assessments on carriers other than LNG carriers. This collaborative assessment looks at CMHI’s Welding and Non-Destructive Examinations (NDE) practices using gap analysis and predict their impact on other ship types, not just LNG carriers.

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Source: Lloyd’s Register

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