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Daewoo unveils eco-friendly LNG ship propulsion system

06 June, 2011

"They might have been surprised as it was the first time for them to see LNG (liquefied natural gas) power such a huge engine."

Lee Yeong-man, head of the Okpo shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, told a Dong-A Ilbo reporter Monday about a demonstration held in Denmark.

On May 18, Daewoo demonstrated its new LNG engine and eco-friendly ship propulsion system at the headquarters of the Danish ship engine producer MAN Diesel & Turbo in Copenhagen. Some 200 participants, including representatives from large shipping companies such as AP Moeller-Maersk and MSC, were enthralled by the world's first large-scale LNG engine and propulsion system.

Lee said, "LNG has been used as a fuel only for small ships such as ferries, but the newly developed LNG engine and propulsion system can be used for large ships with capacities of more than 10,000 TEU." A 20-foot-long container is 1 TEU.

In a world first, Daewoo incorporated "greenship" technology into its eco-friendly ship propulsion system.

Greenship technology is the new big thing in shipbuilding. Countries are strengthening their regulatory measures to reduce sea pollution. For example, the International Maritime Organization has requested that shipbuilders cut nitrogen oxide emissions 20 percent.

To respond to this new regulatory environment, Daewoo began research on eco-friendly propulsion systems three years ago.

Lee said, "If shipping companies use cost-effective LNG instead of bunker C oil in this era of high oil prices, they can gain economic benefits as well as reduce pollutants."

Daewoo also can gain benefits in building ships by incorporating the eco-friendly propulsion system.

LNG-powered propulsion systems have been commonly used for small-scale ships but not for large ones. Daewoo said, "LNG needs a fuel delivery system that can keep gas in low temperatures and high pressure. Making such a system was particularly hard," adding, "Necessary parts such as high-pressure pumps and gasification equipment were non-existent. Therefore, we had to develop all required parts at the same time."

LNG-related technologies that Daewoo has developed, such as the technology for LNG-RV ships, have played a key role in the development of the new propulsion system.

The LNG-RV ship is equipped with regasification and send-out facilities.

Daewoo plans to apply the new propulsion system on LNG transport ships. "Large shipping companies are interested in our system because the price of LNG is half that of bunker C oil," the company said. "We believe we can take orders for the construction of ships equipped with the eco-friendly propulsion system within this year."

The Okpo shipyard manager Lee said, "Korea has maintained the world's top ranking in shipbuilding by building special purpose ships, such as drill ships and floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units. Going forward, however, greenship technology will be a new growth engine."

"Taking the top position in the area will not be difficult as China, our biggest rival, is in the nascent stage of green technology."

Source - Dong-A Ilbo

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