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LR report: Lack of yard capacity and capability could compromise marine retrofit ambitions

LR’s new Engine Retrofit Report highlights a shortage of repair yards with experience in conversions may hinder the take up of alternative bunker fuel technology by existing fleet.





Classification society Lloyd’s Register (LR) on Tuesday (10 October) said its report on the state of technology, integration and compliance, alongside the business case for retrofitting vessels, has found that repair yard capability and capacity concerns could thwart the uptake of alternative marine fuel technology onboard existing ships.

The Engine Retrofit Report, has identified that retrofitting a significant number of the 9,000 and 12,900 large merchant vessels estimated to be part of the global fleet in 2030, could rapidly accelerate the maritime energy transition. However, it warns that these ambitions could be jeopardised by the limited number of repair yards currently capable of performing such conversions. 

Key factors influencing the size of the market and the timing of retrofits, include the date by which shipping begins building only zero-emission vessels, as well as the age at which owners or operators decide to retrofit their vessels and the suitable engine types and bore sizes.

The study, which analyses the state of engine retrofit demand, capacity, and uptake, also points to the new skills in naval architecture, electrical engineering, and fuel handling which will be required if the industry is to use retrofitting as an effective tool to accelerate decarbonisation. 

One of the key challenges with retrofits identified in the report is system integration, with significant issues such as accommodation for larger fuel tanks, space for fuel preparation equipment and ensuring safety measures are in place, all providing obstacles to rapidly retrofitting the existing fossil fuel fleet. 

Techno-economic modelling data revealed in the study shows that the use of renewable methanol or ammonia would significantly increase fuel costs, in some cases more than doubling for vessels in all segments, however, a low-cost scenario, where alternative fuels decrease in price and carbon pricing rises, could tip the balance in favour of alternative fuels. 

The study also highlights the importance of human factor considerations, underlining how the critical aspect of impact on crew members can often be overlooked during retrofitting. Assessing ergonomics, roles and responsibilities, competency and training, procedures processes, and occupational health will play a crucial role in ensuring retrofitting is safe and effective for ship operators. 

The report includes updates on the latest technology from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) including Wärtsilä, MAN Energy Solutions and WinGD.

Claudene Sharpe-Patel, Lloyd’s Register Technology Director, said: “Decarbonising the existing fleet is crucial for reducing the maritime industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. Without significant progress in this area, there could be as many as 20,000 commercial vessels relying on fossil fuels by 2050. We must, therefore, focus industry efforts on addressing the issues that LR’s Engine Retrofit Report raises such as yard capacity, conversion capability and system integration, helping stakeholders from the maritime value chain navigate the obstacles to installing future fuels technology on the existing global fleet.”

Photo credit: Lloyd’s Register
Published: 11 October, 2023

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Alternative Fuels

Specs Corporation to be official Auramarine sales rep for fuel supply units in South Korea

This includes its conventional systems, as well as its specialist solutions for methanol and ammonia bunker fuels, and will be applicable for newbuildings, retrofits, commissioning and maintenance services.





Japan: NS United orders methanol-powered bulk carriers

Auramarine, provider of marine fuel supply systems, on Wednesday (15 April) has announced that it has signed a representative agreement with Specs Corporation Ltd., a Korean marine equipment and services provider. 

The firm said the strategic partnership underscores Auramarine’s commitment to delivering solutions to the maritime sector and strengthens the company’s presence in the South Korean market.

Under the terms of the agreement, Specs Corporation will serve as an official Auramarine sales representative for its fuel supply units. This includes its conventional systems, as well as its specialist solutions for methanol and ammonia, and will be applicable for newbuildings, retrofits, commissioning and maintenance services. 

The collaboration will enable Auramarine to leverage Specs Corporation’s extensive network and expertise in providing services to South Korean shipyards, engine manufacturers and ship owners.

John Bergman, CEO of Auramarine, said: “We are delighted to embark on this journey with Specs Corporation as our trusted partner in the important South Korean market.”

“They have been serving engine manufacturers for a long time, have close and collaborative relationships with shipowners and shipyards and a deep knowledge of exactly what is required from fuel supply systems.”

“Importantly, Spec’s established reputation and forward-thinking vision align seamlessly with our own, making them an ideal partner.”

Mr. Leeman Lee, President of Specs Corporation Ltd, also said: “Spec Corporation’s mission is based on providing superior performance, service, and solutions to ensure customer satisfaction.”

“We are delighted to welcome Auramarine to our portfolio of market-leading technologies.”

“We both share the drive to be a part of the energy transition within the industry and this collaboration, which includes fuel supply systems for methanol and ammonia, represents a clear step forward in our commitment to offering cutting-edge solutions to the South Korean maritime industry that drive increased sustainability.” 

Photo credit: Auramarine
Published: 16 May 2024

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Silverstream completes retrofit of air lubrication system for LNGC at Singapore shipyard

Installation completed in 30 days reinforcing the role that Silverstream’s technology can play as a near-term decarbonisation solution for existing ships.






London-based maritime clean technology firm Silverstream Technologies on Tuesday (9 April) said it has successfully completed another retrofit of its air lubrication technology, the Silverstream® System, on a large LNG carrier at Seatrium’s Admiralty Yard in Singapore.

The retrofit, which was on a 174k cbm LNG carrier owned by an oil major, was completed in 30 days reinforcing the role that Silverstream’s technology can play as a near-term decarbonisation solution for existing ships. It is the 11th retrofit of the Silverstream® System that the company has delivered worldwide.

The Silverstream® System releases a carpet of air to reduce the frictional resistance between the hull and the water, reducing average net fuel consumption and GHG emissions by 5-10%. Moreover, in the case of LNGCs, these savings result in increased delivered volumes.

Silverstream has a proven track record of newbuild and retrofit installations and has delivered every one of its 69 in-operation installations on time. By completing the retrofit within 30 days, Silverstream also minimises any impacts on a vessel’s profitability.

Speaking on the announcement, Noah Silberschmidt, Founder & CEO, Silverstream Technologies, said: “This successful retrofit at Seatrium of our technology onboard another LNG carrier is yet further proof of our deep experience in the LNG segment. The market conditions and operational factors unique to LNGCs make them perfectly suited to our air lubrication technology, and we will continue to work with energy majors and our yard partners to ensure smooth installations onboard any vessel that chooses us as an efficiency-boosting option.”

Alvin Gan, Executive Vice President, Repairs and Upgrades, Seatrium Limited, said: "As the premier yard in LNGC repairs, upgrades and conversions, Seatrium is committed to working with our customers and partners to provide turnkey, one-stop solutions in energy efficiency retrofits for LNG carriers. Our collaboration with Silverstream Technologies is successfully delivering another retrofit of their air lubrication technology and further solidifies our position in the industry. By providing comprehensive engineering services through excellent project execution, we aim to continue to lead and play a key role in assisting our customers to achieve their energy efficiency targets."


Photo credit: Silverstream Technologies
Published: 11 April 2024

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LR: Total cost of ownership a potential barrier for methanol propulsion on passenger ships

Report shows TCO for passenger ships retrofitted with methanol dual-fuel engines to be more than double the cost of blended fuel (Blend B30), HFO and HFO with carbon capture technology.





Stena Germanica

A new report from Lloyd’s Register (LR), released recently, found that the total cost of ownership (TCO) for passenger ships retrofitted with methanol dual-fuel engines to be more than double the cost of blended fuel (Blend B30), heavy fuel oil (HFO) and HFO with Onboard Carbon Capture and Storage technologies (oCCS).

LR’s Fuel for thought: Methanol for Passenger Ships examined the TCO for operators over a 15-year period and based results on a calculation that 65% of voyage time would be spent in EU waters. 

Overall findings identified in the report, based on analysis by the LR Business Advisory team, show the bunkering price of methanol to be the main commercial barrier for its adoption, with the use of less environmentally friendly fossil based (grey) methanol a more commercially attractive proposition for passenger shipowners than a blend of 50% grey, 25% bio- and 25% e-methanol, even when EU emissions taxes are taken into account.

However, the study highlights that methanol is a technically viable fuel for ship operators looking to reduce the carbon emissions of passenger ship newbuilds, owing to the similar characteristics of methanol to existing fuels. 

Viable retrofit paths have also been taken to the sector, such as the pioneer LR project for the Stena Germanica back in 2015. This technical viability is reflected in the global orderbook with passenger ships ranging from small inland vessels to the largest cruise ships awaiting delivery.

The report also outlined that greater investment is needed in green and bio-methanol production along with improved bunkering infrastructure to increase fuel availability and reduce costs to a commercially viable level.

Natasha Pritchard, VP Strategic Key Accounts (Cruise), Lloyd’s Register, said: “Our latest Fuel for thought report brings some much-needed insights for passenger ship owners evaluating methanol as part of their energy transition pathway.”

“Whilst methanol as marine fuel holds considerable promise as a low carbon solution for passenger ship propulsion, the total cost of ownership (TCO) compared to other fuels may represent an obstacle to its widespread take-up in the segment.”

“It is therefore vital that renewable and low-carbon production of methanol is prioritised in order to drive down these costs.”


Photo credit: Stena Line
Published: 14 March 2024

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