LNG-Fuelled Coal Carrier Gets Design Approval
LNG propulsion is being used to reduce emissions from passenger and container shipping, and even run service ships for the offshore oil industry, plus crude and oil product tankers.
But now three Japanese owners have gone one step further in getting a design approved for an LNG-powered coal carrier.
Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) announced December 6 that it, along with shipbuilder Namura Shipbuilding, plus the utility Tohoku Electric Power have together earned an approval in principle (AIP) from UK-based ship classification agency Lloyd's Register for the design of an LNG-powered coal carrier.
The three companies have moved ahead with this project and recently conducted a Hazard Identification Study (Hazid), and finished the basic design. If built, this will be Japan's first joint acquisition by three companies – a shipowner, cargo owner, and shipbuilder – of an AIP for a vessel powered by LNG.
“The vessel design ensures sufficient cargo capacity without making the hull larger by installing the LNG fuel tank at the stern. In addition, the study is pursued based on installation of the tank cover with an eye toward preventing an onboard fire from spreading to the LNG fuel tank while streamlining inspection work,” MOL stated.
With stricter standards on exhaust emissions from merchant vessels taking effect around the world from January 1 2020, LNG can significantly reduce not only sulphur oxide (SOx) but also carbon dioxide (CO2) and is expected to see wider use as vessel fuel, said MOL, without any comment on the desirability of continuing trade in coal.
Not everyone backs coal trade
The announcement comes a day after German utility RWE, which is both a major coal-fired power generator and a significant coal trader, said December 5 it viewed court action in Germany by a Peruvian farmer as "without legal basis from RWE's perspective."
Non-governmental organisation Germanwatch, which is supporting farmer Saul Luciano Lliuya, begs to differ. It said a November 30 decision by the higher regional court in Hamm, northwest Germany, to enter into the evidentiary stage of his case against RWE "is of great legal relevance [as] it is the first time that a court acknowledged that a private company is in principal responsible for its share in causing climate damages." Lliuya's lawyer, Roda Verheyen, added: "Now we can prove in a concrete case that RWE contributed and continues to contribute to the risk of a local glacier outburst flood in Huaraz [Peru]." The case continues.