Long-known as a builder of crew transfer vessels (CTVs) for the offshore wind industry and of crewboats for the offshore oil and gas industry, Penguin International in Singapore is branching out into emissions-free shipping.
The company is building two Windflex-27 CTVs for Germany-based Opus Marine and a further two CTVs based on the design for Ireland-based Farra Marine. Having recently delivered its first diesel-electric hybrid-powered pilot boat, it has also embarked on a project with Sembcorp Marine and Shell to jointly develop hydrogen as a marine fuel.
The collaboration will see Sembcorp Marine designing, fabricating and integrating a hydrogen fuel cell system onto a roro vessel. Shell will supply the hydrogen fuel and is the charterer of the trial vessel. The roro vessel will be owned and operated by Penguin International, which also operates a ferry service in Singapore. In the longer term, the companies say, the project could lead to further hydrogen-powered vessels for other markets, such as the offshore wind sector, in which vessels with reduced emissions are particularly in demand.
The pilot project with Sembcorp Marine and Shell will test fuel cells powered with hydrogen. It will see the Singapore-based trio develop and install a proton exchange membrane fuel cell on Penguin Tenacity, which transports goods, vehicles and equipment on lorries between the mainland and Shell’s Pulau Bukom manufacturing site. The team will first carry out a feasibility study with the intention to install the fuel cell in 2022. Penguin Tenacity will operate for a trial period of 12 months and customers and partners will be welcome to participate.
Penguin International managing director James Tham says, “Hydrogen is a new frontier in alternative fuels for shipping. This trial is significant for Singapore and for the maritime community at large. The outcome of this trial, which is based on retrofitting a roro which we operate for Shell, could quickly bring hydrogen to the forefront as an alternative fuel. As a Singaporean shipbuilder, owner and operator, we believe in playing an active part in decarbonisation.”
The shipbuilder’s commitment to decarbonisation is also evident in Penguin Tenaga, the aluminium-hulled 15-m pilot boat it recently completed. Certified by Bureau Veritas with the notation ‘ZE’ (zero emissions), Penguin Tenaga is a 12-passenger pilot boat capable of running in pure electric mode at 5 knots for more than 30 minutes. In conventional diesel mode it can reach a maximum speed of 24 knots. Solar panels installed on the roof of Penguin Tenaga’s deckhouse generate electrical energy that is used to recharge mobile devices on board and supplement the vessel’s hotel load. The vessel design is based on the same hull form as two of Penguin’s existing monohull pilot boats that are currently operating for Shell Eastern Petroleum in Singapore. The new unit is expected to be deployed to Pulau Bukom to join Penguin’s fleet of workboats supporting Shell’s oil refinery and petrochemicals hub.
The Windflex-27 crewboats for Opus Marine are to be named Valkyrie and Wotan. Due to be delivered shortly to Opus Marine, they will enter operation working with Ørsted in Taiwan. The CTVs based on the Windflex-27 design for Farra Marine, Farra Orla and Farra Ciara, are due to be delivered in 2021 and 2022, respectively. While the Farra Marine CTVs share the same propulsion as Valkyrie and Wotan, they have been extensively customised to meet the client’s requirements. The design is also suitable for multiple propulsion options as well as parallel hybrid integration.
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