Fresh from the completion of the historic transpacific voyage of the LPG-propelled BW Gemini, Oslo-listed BW LPG has committed to spending US$130M to retrofit 15 very large gas carriers to burn LPG
BW Gemini, the world’s first very large gas carrier (VLGC) to be retrofitted with pioneering liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) dual-fuel propulsion technology, completed its first voyage, loading at Enterprise Terminal in Houston on 14 December.
Carrying a record load of 49,000 tonnes of LPG on a single keel, BW Gemini refuelled while loading, speeding its turnaround in port and increasing the vessel’s commercial availability for charterers.
Retrofit work on BW Gemini was performed at China’s Yiu Lian Dockyards, in which the VLGC’s two-stroke, low-speed MAN B&W 6G60ME-C9.2 main engine was converted to an MAN B&W 6G60ME-LGIP dual-fuel prime mover capable of operating on fuel oil and LPG.
Reaffirming its belief in the future of LPG, BW LPG plans to retrofit an additional three VLGCs, bringing the total commitment to 15 vessels and a combined cost of US$130M.
“We are taking the lead and advancing technology that will allow us to decarbonise and maximize the value of an asset with a 20-year lifespan as we prepare for a zero-carbon solution,” said BW LPG chief executive Anders Onarheim.
“Building new ships can provide the benefits of operating with LPG but comes at a heavy cost,” said Mr Onarheim. “Counting total emissions, a new ship represents about 70,000 tons of CO2 in the materials and building process. Compared to 2,000 tons of CO2 for retrofitting, the sustainability outcome is much better from retrofitting than from building new vessels.”
LPG-powered engine technology can reduce fuel consumption by 10%, SOx emissions by 99%, particulate matter emissions by 90%, CO2 emissions by 15% and NOx emissions by 10% when compared with the conventional compliant fuel.
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