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CMA CGM to choose liquefied natural gas for its biggest ships

16 November 2017

The CMA CGM Group will equip its 9 future container ships of 22,000 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) with engines using liquefied natural gas. At 22,000 TEU, the ULCVs (Ultra Large Container Vessels) will be among the largest in the world; the largest container ship in operation currently is the OOCL Hong Kong, with a carrying capacity of 21,413 TEUs. CMA CGM claims to be the first shipping company to fuel giant containerships with LNG.

Bureau Veritas (BV) has been awarded the responsibility for classification of these containerships. Bureau Veritas has been involved in feasibility studies, working with the owner, builders and technology providers. Philippe Donche-Gay, President, Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore, commented: ‘This is a breakthrough order for gas fuelled shipping –both in scale and in the use of a membrane containment system. Bureau Veritas has been supporting the project throughout, providing assistance to ensure the requirements for the safe use of LNG are addressed.’ The new ships will have a bunker capacity of 18,600 m3 which represents a significantly higher volume than has been required in the LNG fuelled ship market. Bureau Veritas has investigated the feasibility of the design together with shipbuilding group China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and GTT, the containment system designer.

GTT (Gaztransport & Technigaz) has been chosen by the shipyard Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding and CMA CGM for the design of cryogenic fuel tanks for the nine LNG-fueled container ships. The Mark III membrane insulation system developed by GTT was chosen for its space optimization allowing a maximum usage of cargo capacity. The membrane tanks will be built by Hudong-Zhonghua, who will also be in charge of building five vessels, Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. building the other four. The deliveries of the nine vessels will take place between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020.

Winterthur Gas & Diesel Ltd (WinGD) will provide 12-cylinder X92DF engines (12X92DF) with a 92 cm bore to power the containerships for service on routes between Asia and Europe. They are designed to have the potential to sail complete Asia-to-Europe voyages on LNG. The 12X92DF engine’s rating of 63,840 kW at 80 rpm is claimed by WinDG as the most powerful gas and dual-fuel engines ever built. The regulations already met by the WinGD X-DF dual-fuel engines include the limits on NOx in Emission Control Areas (ECAs) imposed by IMO Tier III and the 0.5% limit on sulfur in fuel which will be introduced in 2020, as well as possible limits on particulates.

WinDG’s low-speed two-stroke dual-fuel engines operate on the lean burn Otto combustion process with low-pressure gas admission and micro-pilot ignition. X-DF engines comply with IMO Tier III limits on NOx in gas mode and IMO Tier II in liquid fuel mode, both without EGR or SCR. With liquid fuel consumption for pilot ignition below 1% of total heat release and the very low sulfur content of LNG, WinGD also sees X-DF technology as a solution to the 0.5% global cap on sulfur in marine fuels—no scrubber would be required with LNG. X-DF engines also fulfill WinGD’s target of lower capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operating expenditure (OPEX). Complementing the designed-in low maintenance of Generation X engines, low-pressure gas admission considerably reduces CAPEX and OPEX associated with the high-pressure gas compression and supply equipment needed on low-speed engines with high pressure gas injection.

One estimate of the additional cost of the LNG option for these ships is $17 million/ship.

Source: CMA CGM Group | Bureau Veritas | GTT | WinGD