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UECC's FIRST LNG HYBRID PCTC TO ENTER OPERATION

UECC's FIRST LNG HYBRID PCTC TO ENTER OPERATION

Monday, November 29, 2021 

UECC has taken delivery of the world’s first dual-fuel LNG battery hybrid PCTC that the company considers will provide significant gains in energy efficiency and emissions reduction as it enters service this year to boost the shortsea ro-ro carrier’s decarbonisation efforts.

The vessel, to be named Auto Advance, is the first in a series of three newbuild pure car and truck carriers (PCTC) - measuring 169m 28m and with capacity for 3600 vehicles on 10 cargo decks – that are being delivered from China’s Jiangnan Shipyard. The remaining two sister vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2022.

UECC CEO Glenn Edvardsen said: “Having brought into operation the first-ever dual-fuel LNG PCTCs five years ago, UECC is now taking delivery of the first of three of the world’s first dual-fuel LNG battery hybrid PCTC to be built. This is another big step forward in eco-friendly ship operations that shows we walk the talk. This is also a technological milestone as the successful performance of the vessel in sea trials has vindicated our confidence in the viability of this innovative solution.”

UECC developed the design together with DNV and shipbuilder Jiangnan’s in-house ship designer Shanghai Merchant Ship Design & Research Institute, to incorporate proven technology in a new configuration geared to enhancing operational and environmental performance. LNG battery hybrid technology, together with an optimised hull design for better fuel efficiency, will enable these newbuilds to exceed the IMO requirement to cut carbon intensity by 40% from 2008 levels within 2030.

Emissions of CO2 will be reduced by around 25%, SOx and particulate matter by 90% and NOx by 85% from the use of LNG, while the newbuilds will meet the IMO’s Tier 3 NOx emissions limitations for the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Dual-fuel engine technology has been combined with an energy storage system (ESS), supplied by Finland’s WE Tech, incorporating a battery package from Corvus Energy that will be charged by a permanent magnet, directly driven shaft generator or dual-fuelled generators. The ESS, which will provide power to the main switchboard with a DC link for power distribution, will enable peak shaving for the main engine and auxiliaries to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, with a controllable pitch propeller, bulb rudder and dual-fuel boiler also part of the power system.

These vessels will require only two auxiliary dual-fuel gensets, in addition to the main engine, as the ESS and shaft generator provide a spinning reserve to eliminate the need for another genset that would normally be required. Battery capacity is based on detailed modelling of the vessels’ expected operational profile to economise on installation, with payback time for the ESS estimated at only five years. The hybrid solution, which has gained DNV’s Battery Safety notation, will be steered by an intelligent energy management system supplied by Kongsberg Maritime.

Batteries can be charged while at sea using the shaft generator, enabling the vessel to manoeuvre in port using bow thrusters driven solely by battery power that can also supply the ship’s other energy needs while it is docked.

UECC energy and sustainability manager Daniel Gent said: “LNG is presently the most environment-friendly and widely available low-carbon fuel, with an estimated emissions reduction of around 25% compared with other fossil fuels. We are therefore taking advantage of the best available fuel solution now and combining this with hybrid technology to further cut emissions. But we are not locked into LNG and these dual-fuel engines are also ready to use alternative low-emission fuels such as biofuel, bio-LNG and synthetic LNG as these become commercially and technically viable.”

Edvardsen claims that UECC, jointly owned by NYK and Wallenius, is presently the only shipping company in its regional market segment that is investing in sustainable newbuilds.

“UECC has already achieved a substantial reduction in the carbon intensity of its fleet, but we aspire to do much more,” he concluded.

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