Japanese steel producer JFE Steel Corp has inked long-term charter agreements with NYK Line, Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) and K-Line for three LNG-fuelled capesize bulk carriers
Designed by Japan’s Nihon Shipyard, the bulk carriers will be built by Japan Marine United (JMU) and Imabari Shipyard for delivery in 2024 and 2025. With a length overall of 299.9 m, beam of 50 m, draught of 18.4 m and deadweight of 210,000 tonnes, each capesize bulk carrier will transport coal and iron ore in the Pacific trade for JFE.
Propulsion for each vessel will be supplied by a WinGD X-DF 2.0 dual-fuel two-stroke, low-pressure Otto-cycle engine to comply with IMO’s Tier III NOx emission regulations. Burning LNG, the bulk carrier will emit 99% less SOx, 85% less NOx, and 25 to 30% less CO2 compared with conventional heavy fuel oil-burning vessels. Additionally, due to careful consideration of the equipment and arrangement of the LNG fuel tank and LNG fuel supply system, this ship will maintain the loadable quantity and cargo hold capacity of conventional bulk carriers of the same size despite the increased weight of additional equipment.
In 2018, NYK and JMU received approval in principle for a 200,000-dwt LNG-fuelled bulk carrier from ClassNK.
As a result of the combination of the ship design and the use of LNG as a fuel, each bulk carrier will be able to lower its Energy Efficient Design Index (EEDI) by about 40%, exceeding the Phase 0 to Phase 3 reduction of 30% – a reduction that had been considered to be difficult for a large bulk carrier to attain.
NYK Line said the ship’s design can contribute to the IMO strategy of a 40% improvement in the global shipping industry’s fuel efficiency by 2030 and anticipates having an LNG bunkering system in place by 2024 serving the ship when it calls at ports in the Chugoku region of Japan.
NYK is positioning LNG fuel as a ‘bridge solution’ until future zero-emissions ships that use marine fuels that have a lower environmental impact, such as hydrogen and ammonia, are available.
Meanwhile MOL said its environmental strategy, MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.1, announced in June is a top priority in the management plan, providing a more detailed roadmap for long-term emission reductions and sets even higher quantitative targets.
MOL set ’Adoption of Clean Alternative Fuels’ as one of five initiatives to realise its vision, and plans to increase the number of LNG-fuelled vessels in its fleet to about 90 by 2030. It aims to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions by adopting more clean fuels, building upon LNG-fuelled vessel projects already underway with this new vessel.
Adding wind power
Like NYK Line, this will be the first LNG-fuelled capsize bulk carrier for K-Line, which plans to install Seawing, an automated kite system that uses wind power to assist in ship’s propulsion, reducing fuel consumption. Developed by Airseas – a spin-off of European aircraft manufacturer Airbus – Seawing is mounted on the bow of the vessel and is deployed by simple operation from the bridge. K-Line’s expectations are that Seawing can greatly contribute to the reduction of the environmental load associated with the ship’s operation. The bulk carrier can reduce emissions by more than 20%, about 5,200 tonnes of CO2 annually, according to the Japanese ship owner.
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