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Friday, September 27, 2019 

ABS has granted Approval in Principle (AiP) to the conceptual design of carbon fibre LNG Fuel Tanks, inspired by techniques common in the space industry, under the EU-funded SpaceTech4Sea project, which sees ABS, OceanFinance and Cimarron Composites joining forces to adapt composite technologies developed for the space industry to LNG shipping.

“The potential of this technology to reduce barriers to the utilization of LNG as fuel for short sea shipping is significant. This composite technology has proven itself in other industries; we are committed to learning how to safely apply those lessons to benefit the maritime industries,” said ABS VP Global Gas Solutions, Patrick Janssens.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to apply our aerospace heritage to a marine application. Reducing the mass of components is very important to both aerospace and marine applications,” said Cimarron Composites Owner and CEO Tom Delay.

“It is in our future plans to examine the commercial application and see how this game-changing product will benefit the maritime industry. LNG as marine fuel has just won a strong ally,” said Ocean Finance MD Dr. Panayotis Zacharioudakis.

The joint team’s goal is creating tanks which will attract new buildings and LNG as a marine fuel retrofits by cutting costs, reducing weight and increasing vessels’ cargo capacity, initially focusing on high-speed vessels with small to medium tank capacities. Composite tanks offer weight savings of up to 80% over existing equivalent LNG tank designs, are not affected by corrosion, and introduce space technology safety standards to marine operations.

Attica Group, owner of Superfast Ferries, Blue Star Ferries, Hellenic Seaways and AML, is following the SpaceTech4Sea with interest and is evaluating the technology for future projects. “The AIP of the ultralight composite tanks for marine use constitutes a major factor in the design and increases the potential of using them both in retrofits and in new buildings of weight sensitive LNG-fueled vessels,” said Costis Stamboulelis, Executive Management Advisor, Newbuildings and Development, Attica Group.

The project aims to adopt a highly automated production line to ensure a competitive pricing level. The AIP provides guidance on the analysis and testing required by the rules and standards under which the composite tank technology can be approved for marine applications.

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