Advancing its ‘Securing the Blue Seas of Tomorrow’ environmental vision, Japanese shipowner K-Line has launched its first LNG-fuelled car carrier at Tadotsu Shipyard Co Ltd, part of the Imabari Shipbuilding Group
Ordered in December 2018, the car carrier is expected to be delivered to K-Line in Q4 2020. With an overall length of 199.9 m and beam of 37.2 m, the Japan-flag vessel will have a maximum capacity of 7,020 vehicles.
K-Line, which built its first pure car carrier Toyota Maru No. 10 in 1970, owns 86 car carriers, the fourth-largest such fleet in the world behind Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines, MOL and NYK Line.
Unlike its previous vessels, K-Line’s new generation car carrier is designed to burn LNG as a marine fuel.
The ship’s heart is a dual-fuel Mitsui-MAN B&W ME-GI engine, with an exhaust gas recirculation system to comply with IMO Tier III standards. This will reduce the ship’s NOx emissions by 80% as compared with the performance of a Tier I diesel engine.
The fuel gas supply system, consisting of the LNG fuel tank and high-pressure pump, was engineered by TGE Marine Gas Engineering.
The LNG fuel tank on the vessel is an independent IMO Type C tank, which allows the design pressure to be set higher than other types of LNG fuel tanks. As the boiling point of methane, the main component of LNG, is -161.5℃, the chilled liquid is constantly vaporised due to heat input from outside of the tank. This results in an increase in tank pressure. However, the IMO Type C independent tank allows vaporised gas to be kept in the tank for a relatively long period of time.
Auxiliary engines are also dual-fuel diesel engines that conform to IMO Tier III in gas mode. The auxiliary engines have a selective catalytic reduction system designed to meet NOx Tier III requirements even in diesel mode, offering fuel flexibility.
K-Line, as a participant in the United Nations Global Compact, is promoting activities that contribute to sustainable development goals, and this project is a part of its ongoing activities. Operating on LNG as a marine fuel reduces CO2 emissions by about 25-30%, SOx by 100% and NOx by about 80-90%, respectively, compared with conventional fuel oil.
Development of the car carrier was underpinned by the support of the ’Model Project for Maximise Reduction of CO2 Emissions from LNG fuelled Vessels’, a joint project between Japan’s Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
In 2015, K-Line formulated a long-term environmental management vision called the K-Line Environmental Vision 2050 ’Securing the Blue Seas for Tomorrow,’ with the aim of minimising all environmental impacts generated by its business activities.
In February 2016, K-Line launched an environmentally friendly flagship called ’Drive Green Highway,’ a car carrier vessel with energy-saving technologies and SOx scrubbers.
In its Environmental Vision 2050, K-Line set the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by half and replacing the majority of energy currently consumed with new energy sources.
“This LNG-fuelled ship will be a next-generation environmentally friendly car carrier vessel for achieving these goals,” said the company in a press statement. “By building LNG-fuelled car carrier vessels, we are actively responding to a wide variety of transportation needs from customers both domestic and overseas, while responding to the growing need for environmental friendliness, and contributing to a sustainable society through high-quality transportation.”