Rethinking LNG Transfer For The Growing LNG-Fuelled Fleet

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Using proven technology, a new hybrid LNG loading system overcomes refuelling challenges posed by a lack of bunker station standards, reports Riviera.

LNG loading system

A hose manufacturer, LNG hose transfer system specialist and crane manufacturer have developed an LNG loading system that is flexible enough to refuel a vessel no matter where its bunker station is located.

Presenting at Trelleborg’s stand at Gastech 2022 in Milan in September, Trelleborg global business development manager Matthew Richardson detailed the impetus behind the development of the hybrid LNG loading system, how it works and where it is being initially deployed.

“Growth in LNG-fuelled shipping is accelerating,” said Mr Richardson, citing recent data that shows recent newbuild orders for container ships, car carriers, bulk carriers, tankers and ropax vessels have pushed the global fleet of LNG-fuelled vessels to 833.

Compatibility

This growth has created challenges for LNG transfer systems said Mr Richardson: “Firstly, the bunker vessel needs to be as versatile as possible … in the short term to maximise compatibility with planned LNG-fuelled vessels and in the long term to ensure compatibility across the operational life of that bunkering vessel.” 

Second, he said, is the application of the bunker station standard for LNG-fuelled vessels: “Whilst some bodies, such as SGMF, have attempted to define a bunkering station standard for an LNG-fuelled vessel, there are a number of different vessels coming out on the market with manifolds in completely different locations, depths heights and widths; there are a number of challenges posed to the LNG transfer system and the bunkering vessel for transferring LNG.”

He continued: “These compatibility challenges range from the equipment for the LNG transfer system, right through to the safety zones, the crane reach on a given LNG bunkering vessel, SSL ESD links, the emergency shutdown envelopes, hose and mooring arrangements. If one of these variables does not align, you cannot really physically transfer LNG. So, it’s key you have a bunkering vessel that has a hose transfer system that can accommodate all of these variables and challenges.”

Tapping the expertise of its in-house KLAW LNG transfer systems and Gutteling Composite Hoses, Trelleborg joined with crane manufacturer Delmeco to develop an LNG transfer solution based around the two variables that fall within the control of the LNG bunkering vessel transfer system provider, namely the hose length and the crane reach.

Using those two variables, Trelleborg and Delmeco maximised the operability of the LNG loading system by fully integrating “the LNG hose transfer system alongside the crane itself,” said Mr Richardson.

Used for ship-to-ship or ship-to-shore LNG transfer, the hybrid LNG loading system is based on proven technology that offers a wide working envelope, allowing transfers of fuel to an 18,000-TEU container ship as easily as a 9,000-TEU vessel or cruise ship. The transfer solution can be integrated into an LNG bunker newbuild or existing vessel, or at a terminal.

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Source: Riviera

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