The first electrically propelled LNG carriers to be built in China will incorporate power and propulsion systems developed and built by GE’s Power Conversion business.
Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group, part of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, has signed contracts with GE for the supply of power and propulsion systems for six LNG carriers that it will build in its shipyard in Shanghai for major Asian shipping companies, including China Shipping Group and Sinopec Kantons Holdings. The LNG carriers, which will be used for transporting LNG from Australia to China, will be delivered between April 2016 and November 2017. Each LNG carrier is 174 000 cubic meters.
The decision to use dual-fuel diesel-electric (DFDE) propulsion for the new LNG carriers is a turning point in propulsion systems for large LNG ships built in China. Up until now, LNG carriers have used either steam turbines or two-stroke engine technology. The use of electrical propulsion technology for the LNG carriers is more efficient and presents less of a burden on the environment due to lower fuel consumption and emissions. DFDE drive systems also are more compact than alternatives, enabling the LNG carriers to hold more cargo.
Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group said: “These important contracts for our next-generation LNG carriers mark the beginning of a new relationship with GE’s Power Conversion business.”
GE will supply induction motors with PWM propulsion technology driven by electricity generated from high-efficiency ‘dual-fuel’ engines that can run on natural gas, marine diesel gas or heavy fuel oil. The combination of dual-fuel engines, which can use boil-off gas from the carrier’s LNG tanks, and GE’s electrical variable-speed drives, presents a proven solution that is now commonly used on LNG carriers.
For each LNG carrier, GE will supply two propulsion systems comprising of generators, main and cargo switchboards, transformers, MV7000 converters, motors and remote control. GE is responsible for design, engineering, commissioning, training and assistance for sea and gas trials.
China Shipping Group’s Director, President Captain Xu Lirong said: “China Shipping is confident in the choice to partner with GE. This is our first LNG carrier, and working with a strong partner like GE helps ensure the lifetime of the vessel.”
Adapted from press release by Callum O’Reilly
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