World’s first ethane-fueled gas carrier unveiled

A company in Germany has unveiled a new type of environmentally friendly liquified ethylene carrier that it says is fundamentally different from conventional gas carriers with increased cargo carrying capacity and the ability to run on ethane fuel.

The Leer, Germany based company, Hartmann Reederei, last week unveiled the new type of eco LEG vessel, which it calls the “ECO STAR 36K”. The design, which was developed in cooperation with engineering consultants at HB Hunte Engineering, boasts a number of industry firsts including a new tank design, a forward superstructure and a dual fuel engine capable of running on ethane.

Hartmann Reederei says that the ECO STAR 36K will be the first gas carrier to feature a forward superstructure, which it says results in an optimized distribution of weight, limiting the demand for ballast water while at the same time reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Furthermore, a new “Svelte” bow design enables improved seakeeping and fuel efficiency at higher speeds.

The vessel will be equipped with the latest generation MAN B&W ME-GI, dual fuel engine meeting IMO Tier II emission requirements. The engines will be capable of operating on HFO, MDO, gas oil, LNG, and even ethane, with the ability to utilize the boil-off gas from its cargo, Hartmann Reederei. This will be the first time ethane has been used as fuel for an oceangoing vessel.

Propulsion efficiency will be further improved by use of a MAN Kappel propeller with rudder bulb system and a Twist-flow Rudder developed by HB Hunte Engineering, according to Hartmann Reederei.

Compared to conventional gas carriers with cylindrical or bilobe tanks, the ECO STAR 36K will feature the newly-developed “Star-Trilobe” tank, consisting of three cylinders combined into one. Hartmann Reederei says this new design will increase cargo carrying capacity by 30% compared to a conventional ship of the same dimensions.

With a capacity of 36,000 cbm, the ECO STAR 36K will be the largest LEG carriers in the world.

So far three of the vessels have already been ordered by the Norwegian company Ocean Yield. The vessels will be built at the Sinopacific shipyard in China with delivery beginning in the second half of 2016. Long-term agreements for the vessels are already in place with SABIC Petrochemicals via commercial manager GasChem Services.

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