New technologies for a greener shipping industry: The world’s first LNG-powered bulk carrier

Professor KangKi Lee's picture
Professor KangKi Lee, Offshore Department, National Korea Maritime & Ocean University
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Gastech News: The world’s first LNG-powered bulk carrier has recently been announced by a number of leading gas companies in South Korea. Mr Lee, considering your key role in the project, could you tell us more about it and explain why it represents an important step-up for the industry?

KangKi Lee: Under the slogan of “Greener Shipping”, a team of experts has gathered from POSCO-KOGAS-ILSHIN-Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD)-Hyundai Heavy Industry (HHI)-KR-LR-MDT-GEC. They will strive for a greener shipbuilding and shipping through the project of LNG fuelled 50,000 dwt bulk carrier. This project was introduced by POSCO, a multinational steel-making company famous for its development of the cost-competitive and cryogenic high-Mn steel for LNG storage. POSCO will deliver LNG fuel tank. Korean ship owner, ILSHIN has expressed their vigorous will to pursue the Green Fleet. HMD, as a shipbuilding contractor, will build this state of the art ship. The vessel will be powered by a MAN B&W 6G50ME-C9.5-GI engine, which is considered as the best of its kind. The engine will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industry who will provide the ME-GI and fuel-gas supply system in cooperation with MAN Diesel & Turbo. Korean Register (KR) and Lloyd’s Register (LR) will provide dual classification and certification for the ship design, verifying the compliance with the International Gas Fuel (IGF) Code. It is a significant step forward for this new technology. Green Energy Center will be a mediator to connect and support members of this green team.

Gastech News: This project highlights the importance of adopting new technologies for a greener shipping industry. What are the main characteristics of the carrier? And how will it achieve successful marine transport with minimum environmental impact?

KangKi Lee: Green means environmental friendliness and efficiency. The most notable feature of this LNG fuelled vessel is the adoption of a high-Mn steel tank that is more economical and efficient cryogenic steel for the storage of LNG and other alternatives. The vessel will be powered by the most efficient engine of MAN B&W 6G50ME-C9.5-GI to reduce emission. HMD is a renowned shipyard to build the most efficient medium-size ships. Thus we would like to call ourselves “Greener Team” because we’re green fuel plus green technology. Furthermore, this project will be the world first touchstone of IGF Code which adopted on 11 June 2015 by IMO.

Gastech News: Despite the cost challenges faced by the shipping sector at the moment, how do you see the future of the industry in the next 5 years?

KangKi Lee: Currently, we all are experiencing a severe downturn in shipping and thereby shipbuilding market. Common effort on complying with the environmental regulations and improving efficiency has led us to“ECO-Ship”, which saves fuel consumption significantly with a great reduction of emission. LNG fuelled “ECO-Ship” design will emerge as a solution to revitalise the market out of the current recession. The successful construction of this vessel and continued operations will draw the LNG industry’s attention in adopting of high-Mn steel in marine applications, for those who are hesitant to adopt LNG fueled systems due to higher CAPEX. This contract is the evidence that shipbuilding and shipping can make progress in addressing cost challenges without compromising both safety and performance as Dr.J.T.Lee said, from LR representative in Korea.

Gastech News: What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming GAS Asia Summit in Singapore?

KangKi Lee: The most appreciated part here is an opportunity to meet those relevant people and to get networking amongst them as well as a quality conference. Especially, SEA/LNG was formed and another entity may emerge which all proves that the “Age of Gas” has begun. Korean Register (KR) has expressed their readiness and willingness to encounter the future fuel along with all members of “Greener Team”.

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Professor KangKi Lee will be participating in a panel discussion on “Large to Small Scale Offshore and Deepwater Gas and LNG Developments and Technologies” at the upcoming Gas Asia Summit & Exhibition (GAS) which returns in its 4th edition to the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore from 26 to 28 October 2016.  Book your delegate place and join over 300 international & regional c-level executives, decision makers & technology providers to discuss the dynamics that are revolutionising the Asian gas market today.

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