Japanese shipping company NYK Line working with shipbuilder Kawasaki Heavy Industries announced plans for the next steps in the development of the line’s very large gas carrier (VLGC) fleet designed to meet future environmental requirements as well as to adapt to anticipated changes in the market.
NYK has ordered the construction of two 86,700 m3 gas carriers powered by dual-fuel engines due for delivery in 2024. In addition to operating on low sulfur fuel oil, the vessels will be able to use liquified petroleum gas (LPG), which will greatly reduce emissions. The vessels will be able to operate with full LPG fuel navigation except for the use of a small amount of pilot fuel. When using LPG as fuel, sulfur oxides (SOx) in the exhaust gas will be reduced by 95 percent or more and CO 2 will be reduced by 20 percent or more compared to conventional fuel-oil-fired ships.
Unlike conventional vessels, the new VLGC vessels will also be able to load ammonia in addition to LPG. According to NYK, in order to flexibly respond to various trade patterns, the vessels will be capable of loading LPG and ammonia stacked separately for each cargo tank. Working with Kawasaki, they have also been able to increase the capacity of the tanks compared to previous vessels. They noted that this was achieved without significantly changing the vessel’s specifications. Each ship will measure 755 feet in length with a 122-foot beam.
In addition to the LPG dual-fuel engine, the ships will be outfitted with other energy-saving technologies designed to reduce their environmental impact and to meet IMO standards. This will include the use of a shaft generator that produces power from the propeller shaft connected to the main engine. During operations under normal sea conditions, it will be possible for the vessel to generate sufficient power that it will not be required to use its diesel generators.
These ships represent an advancement for the company providing greater flexibility in future operations. Separately, NYK has been studying the development of dedicated ammonia gas carriers. Currently, the line is participating in a consortium of Japanese companies in a project funded by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) to develop Japan’s first domestically produced ammonia-fueled engine by 2024 with a second larger application in 2026.
While the efforts continue to develop future engines, NYK said that all of its future VLGCs ordered will be equipped with LPG dual-fuel engines.