The maiden voyage of Crowley Maritime’s second Commitment-class, LNG-fuelled conro vessel, Taino, made most of the headlines in the Port of Jacksonville, Florida, last week but it was Eagle LNG’s new port-side bunkering facility that made the voyage possible.
And already Eagle, a specialist in compact LNG fuelling plant for the maritime industry, is planning a much larger facility that will push down the price of LNG for shipping companies in the region.
The first of its kind in the United States, according to Eagle, the bunker station marks a milestone in small-scale, shore-to-ship fuelling that points the way for the wider maritime industry. Not only does the facility provide LNG for Taino and Crowley’s other conro ship El Coqui, it fills cargoes for delivery into the Caribbean.
Operated by Eagle, the station has a storage capacity of 2,273 m3 LNG and can pump 12.25 m3 a minute, fast enough to fuel Crowley’s ships in less than eight hours. There is plenty of back-up as well. The port-side tanks are filled by truck from Eagle’s big facility at nearby Maxville which liquefies the gas. But in case of heavy demand from domestic consumers, the Maxville plant puts aside another million gallons of LNG, enough to refuel the conro vessels each week.
The compactness of the Talleyrand operation is a model for other locations, according to Eagle president Sean Lalani. “Its small, two-acre design can be easily replicated in other coastal ports,” he said at a ceremony to mark Taino’s maiden voyage.
In a tightly co-ordinated operation, the ships are fuelled through a mobile transfer unit that comprises a gantry crane and container movement forward, plus roro aft of the accommodation. It is a permanent infrastructure that, said Eagle, increases the ships’ range and time between fill-ups.
Looking to the future, Eagle and the port authorities are already developing a larger, floating liquefaction plant and terminal. To be known as the Jacksonville Export Facility, it will be capable of liquefying 7,500 m3 of LNG a day and have a storage capacity for 54.553 m3 that will be dedicated for export and will provide for growing demand for marine bunkering.
According to Eagle, the combination of the Talleyrand and the new project will mean the company can provide the lowest-cost bunkering LNG in the south-east United States. The first fuel from the export facility is slated for delivery in late 2020.
LNG-powered, 220 m long Taino, with 26,500 deadweight tonnage, successfully completed its maiden voyage to Puerto Rico on 11 January after departing Jacksonville on 8 January. The vessel’s cruising speed is more than 22 knots.