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DNV: Addressing methane slip in LNG-burning four-stroke Otto-cycle engines

DNV discusses LNG and methane slip in a Maritime Impact report and elaborates on its role in several projects aiming to minimize methane slip.

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DNV: Addressing methane slip in LNG-burning four-stroke Otto-cycle engines

Classification society DNV on Monday (27 November) released a Maritime Impact report on discusses LNG and methane slip and DNV’s role in several initiatives to minimize it. The following is an excerpt from the article: 

LNG offers many benefits as a transitional ship fuel. However, certain engine types have been found to release significant amounts of unburnt methane, a powerful climate gas. DNV is involved in various projects aiming to minimize methane slip.

Methane, the main component of natural gas and LNG, has a global warming potential (GWP) 29.8 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year timeframe, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2021). Preventing methane from escaping anywhere along its supply chain is therefore crucial as the world tries to contain the causes of climate change.

New EU regulations increase pressure to reduce methane slip

LNG-fuelled four-stroke Otto-cycle engines, which are often used for gensets on board passenger ships, have been found to release significant amounts of unburnt methane, leading to CO2-equivalent emission values that compromise what is achieved through other carbon reduction efforts. 

The shipping sector will be incorporated into the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) from 2024. This expansion will encompass methane and nitrous oxide emissions starting in 2026. Additionally, the FuelEU Maritime requirements for the GHG intensity of energy utilized on board will come into effect in 2025. Consequently, the shipping industry is keenly interested in addressing methane slip issues.

LNG's long-term zero emissions potential hinges on methane slip reduction

“Many think of LNG as a transitional fuel only, but it can also be much more than this,” says Hans Eivind Siewers, Segment Director Passenger Ships and RoRo at DNV. “But in order for this fuel to take passenger ships all the way to zero emissions with bio LNG and e-LNG, it is of major importance that we succeed in reducing methane slip.”   

Fabian Kock, Head of Section Environmental Technologies Air at DNV, agrees: “Methane slip is indeed a critical issue for addressing climate change. DNV is actively working with many stakeholders and regulators to find pragmatic solutions to overcome this challenge. In particular we are happy to work closely together with the engine designers to find technical solutions which are safe and feasible to be installed on board of ships.” 

GREEN RAY industry initiative addresses methane slip

One major initiative dedicated to reducing methane slip from LNG ship engines is the EU HORIZON project GREEN RAY (new GeneRation marinE ENgines and Retrofit solutions to Achieve methane abatement flexibilitY). Launched in June 2022 under the leadership of the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, it aims to establish sound scientific data about methane slip from four-stroke LNG-fuelled engines by conducting on-board exhaust gas measurements, and to promote the development of methane abatement technologies. 

The project consortium includes the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Shell Global Solutions, Wärtsilä, MSC, CMA Ships, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, DNV and a number of other stakeholders. A report will summarize the findings after the project ends in 2027.

Focus on engine optimization and exhaust gas aftertreatment

The engine manufacturer Wärtsilä has been conducting research and development on engine modifications to radically reduce methane slip, including efforts to optimize engine design and control. VTT researchers studied methane emissions from two Wärtsilä 31DF engines on the AURORA BOTNIA. One used standard configuration, the other tested new combustion. Results show reduced methane emissions and potential for overall emission cuts for the modified engine. 

Shell is developing methane absorption and catalytic conversion technologies for exhaust gas aftertreatment. The role of DNV in the GREEN RAY project will be to witness exhaust gas measurements, verify piping and materials as well as installation, and develop and update its class rules related to emission reduction with the option to introduce a dedicated class notation. Furthermore, DNV will provide know-how and review solution proposals. 

MAN takes a two-pronged approach

There are similar initiatives beyond the GREEN RAY project, as well. MAN Energy Solutions SE has been exploring ways to optimize its own engine technology to minimize methane slip. The company’s R&D into engine optimization is well advanced and integrated into every new four-stroke ship engine MAN delivers, says Dr Mathias Moser, Head of Technology and Exhaust Aftertreatment at MAN Energy Solutions SE. 

“We optimize the mechanical components to minimize crevice volumes in the cylinder and we adapt the compression ratio towards improved combustion,” he explains. “Furthermore, we fine-tune engine control parameters such as injection timing, pilot-fuel amount, supercharge pressure, ignition timing, valve timing and combustion temperature. Most of these improvements can be implemented as retrofits to existing engines, as well. These engine-based measures alone can reduce methane emissions significantly so the updated engines will comply with future, tighter restrictions.”

T2 Fer Cru 507 Methane oxidation catalyst tcm71 250444 1

Note: DNV’s full Maritime Impact report on ‘Addressing methane slip in LNG-burning four-stroke Otto-cycle engines’ can be found here.

Photo credit: MAN Energy Solutions, Avenir LNG
Published: 6 December, 2023

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Methanol

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding receives orders for Japan’s first methanol-fuelled RoRo cargo ship duo

Two ships will be built at the Enoura Plant of MHI’s Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture, with scheduled completion and delivery by the end of fiscal 2027.

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Mitsubishi Shipbuilding receives orders for Japan's first methanol-fuelled RoRo cargo ship duo

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, on Wednesday (19 June) said it has received orders from Toyofuji Shipping and Fukuju Shipping for Japan's first methanol-fueled roll-on/roll-off (RORO) cargo ships. 

The two ships will be built at the Enoura Plant of MHI's Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture, with scheduled completion and delivery by the end of fiscal 2027.

The ships will be approximately 169.9 meters in overall length and 30.2 meters in breadth, with 15,750 gross tonnage, and loading capacity for around 2,300 passenger vehicles.

A windscreen at the bow and a vertical stem are used to reduce propulsion resistance, while fuel efficiency is improved by employing MHI's proprietary energy-saving system technology combing high-efficiency propellers and high-performance rudders with reduced resistance. 

The main engine is a high-performance dual-fuel engine that can use both methanol and A heavy fuel oil, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 10% compared to ships with the same hull and powered by fuel oil, contributing to a reduced environmental impact. 

In the future, the use of green methanol(2) may lead to further reduction in CO2 emissions, including throughout the lifecycle of the fuel. Methanol-fueled RORO ships have already entered into service as ocean-going vessels around the world, but this is the first construction of coastal vessels for service in Japan.

In addition, the significant increase in vehicle loading capacity and transport capacity per voyage compared to conventional vessels will provide greater leeway in the ship allocation schedule, securing more holiday and rest time for the crew, thereby contributing to working style reforms.

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, to address the growing needs from the modal shift in marine transport against the backdrop of CO2 reductions in land transportation, labor shortages, and working style reforms, will continue to work with its business partners to provide solutions for a range of societal issues by building ferries and RORO vessels with excellent fuel efficiency and environmental performance that contribute to stable navigation for customers.

 

Photo credit: Mitsubishi Shipbuilding
Published: 20 June, 2024

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Legal

Shipowner and captain fined for using heavy fuel oil around Svalbard

Foreign shipping company has been fined NOK 1 million for having sailed one of its cargo ships with heavy fuel oil on board within the territorial waters around Svalbard; captain has been fined NOK 30,000.

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RESIZED venti views

A foreign shipping company has been fined NOK 1 million (USD 94,632) for having sailed one of its ships with heavy fuel oil on board within the territorial waters around Svalbard, which is a breach of the Svalbard Environment Act, according to the Governor of Svalbard on Thursday (13 June). 

In addition, the captain has been fined NOK 30,000.

On 6 June 2024, the cargo ship passed into Svalbard's territorial waters, despite the vessel having heavy fuel oil on board, which was established by an inspection carried out by inspectors from the Norwegian Maritime Directorate on the same day.

“This is a breach of Section 82a of the Svalbard Environment Act, which stipulates that ships calling at Svalbard cannot use or have heavy fuel oil as a means of transport. The provision applies to the whole of Svalbard and was introduced on 1 January 2022,” Lars Fause said. 

For the violation of Section 82a of the Svalbard Environment Act, the Governor of Svalbard has issued a forfeiture order against the foreign shipping company of NOK 1,000,000. In addition, the captain of the ship has been fined NOK 30,000.

“It is the first time that the Governor has fined a company in connection with a breach of the heavy oil provision on Svalbard,” he added. 

The fines have not been accepted. The shipping company provided a guarantee for the sum of the fine and was thus allowed to sail down from Svalbard on Wednesday evening, 12 June.

The main hearing in the case is scheduled for the Nord-Troms district court in early October.

 

Photo credit: Venti Views on Unsplash
Published: 20 June, 2024

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Methanol

Maersk and Nike to christen methanol-fuelled boxship at Port of Los Angeles in August

Powered by methanol for its maiden voyage and capable of carrying more than 16,000 containers, the vessel will get its new name at a private ceremony at Port of Los Angeles Outer Harbor.

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Maersk

A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) on Wednesday (19 June) said it will be christening one of the world’s first methanol-enabled vessels when it arrives in Los Angeles this August.

The firm invited the public to go aboard the container ship in Los Angeles.

Powered by methanol for its maiden voyage and capable of carrying more than 16,000 containers (TEU), the vessel will get its new name at a private ceremony at the Port of Los Angeles Outer Harbor on Tuesday, August 27. 

Maersk’s CEO Vincent Clerc will be on hand, alongside special guest speakers from Nike and leading state and local officials. Nike is a partner in the name-giving event.

“Nike is committed to protecting the future of sport and we leverage science-based targets to guide us through our Move to Zero journey,” said Venkatesh Alagirisamy, Nike Chief Supply Chain Officer.

“Operating one of the largest supply chains in the world, we have a responsibility to advance the innovation and use of more sustainable methods that get us closer to zero carbon and zero waste. By working with suppliers like Maersk, who share our commitment to sustainability, we are scaling our use of biofuels in ocean transportation, our main first-mile delivery channel.”

“This event is not only an opportunity to celebrate a remarkable engineering achievement, but the chance to highlight that we can navigate towards more sustainable supply chains if we work together,” said Charles van der Steene, Regional President for Maersk North America.

On Wednesday, August 28, Maersk invites the public to tour the 350-meter-long vessel, which will be sailing from Asia. Visitors will be able to see the Sailors’ living quarters and even stand on the bridge from where the captain controls the vessel. Public tours will require visitors register for a free ticket via an online registration site that will be activated and announced in August.

This is the fifth container vessel in Maersk’s fleet that can sail on green methanol bunker fuel.

 

Photo credit: A.P. Moller – Maersk
Published: 20 June, 2024

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