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Tuesday, April 20, 2021 

Danish naval architect Knud E Hansen has harnessed its experience in energy efficient ships to create a new platform, known as X-gas, an LNG transport and bunkering vessel that will support cleaner energy for the future.

The X-gas Project is a series of innovative and unconventional, medium-capacity Liquified Gas / Gas bunkering tankers. The flagship design of the project is a 126.5m vessel with a total cargo capacity of 9,000m3, split between two Type C tanks. The platform, however, is highly customisable and can be tailored to accommodate a range of tank capacities, as well as various containment systems including membrane tanks.

The X-gas platform is already being extended to accommodate zero emission fuels such as liquid and compressed hydrogen to meet the growing demand in this sector.

The X-gas features a low-profile, forward deck house, enabling the vessel to safely approach and pull alongside cruise ships with low-hanging lifeboats. This minimises the need for ballast during cargo transfer, thereby lowering operational costs. Lastly, the forward deck house allows for larger cargo tanks without impeding bridge visibility.

For improved manoeuvring and safety, the design features two propulsion thrusters aft and two bow thrusters, as well as an autodocking system for alongside mooring.

The design features an extremely fuel-efficient diesel electric power and propulsion plant consisting of a fuel efficient dual-fuel 4-stroke engine, integrated with an Energy Storage System (ESS) with a lithium-ion battery bank that allows for engine load optimisation with reduced methane slip. The batteries provide all of the power required during cargo transfer, resulting in no emissions or exhaust in way of the ship being bunkered, an especially important feature for passenger vessels.

Boil-off gas from the cargo tanks is captured and consumed in the dual-fuel engines and the energy surplus generated can be stored in the batteries. Waste heat from the engine cooling water is converted to electric and thermal power through a number of ORC (Organic Rankine Cycle) waste heat units. Waste energy captured during operation can be stored in accumulators and released as required to drive the absorption chiller and reduce electrical load onboard. This approach boosts energy efficiency to a very high level.

Another feature of the design is an aft ‘energy bay’ that allows the vessel to provide containers loaded with fuel or stored electrical power to a receiving vessel. It also allows the vessel to provide fully charged battery banks to remote locations ashore, where current infrastructure does not allow sufficient power to be provided.

The principal particulars of the baseline vessel are length (overall) 126.5m, breadth (moulded) 20.5m, design draught 5.25m, service speed 13 knots, ice class 1a, deadweight 4,775t, and crew capacity up to 16.

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