LNG Retrofit Aimed At Cutting Ferry’s Environmental Footprint

By Jack Burke22 October 2019

Wärtsilä said it will retrofit a ferry in a UNESCO World Heritage site to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) in a project aimed at lessening the ship’s environmental footprint.

The Wadden Sea in the southeastern end of the North Sea is biologically diverse and is important for breeding and migrating birds. The retrofit will enable the 1200 passenger Münsterland, a RoPax ferry owned by German operator Aktien-Gesellschaft ‘Ems’ (AG Ems), to utilize LNG as fuel, thereby completely eliminating its emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulates, while significantly reducing its nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, the company said.

The work will take place at the Koninklijke Niestern-Sander B.V. yard in the Netherlands. The yard has facilities for shipbuilding and repairs under one roof, and will use these facilities to build a completely new aftship to accommodate the Wärtsilä LNGPac fuel storage, supply, and control system. This fitting of the new aftship is scheduled to commence in September 2020.

A similar retrofitting project was carried out in 2015 on the Ostfriesland, a sister ship to the Münsterland, and the success of this project was cited as a prime consideration in the award of this subsequent contract.

“There is no greater endorsement of customer satisfaction than repeat orders, and we are delighted to have again been selected to convert an AG Ems owned ferry to LNG fuel operation,” said Matthias Becker, Managing Director, Wärtsilä Deutschland GmbH. “The project is fully in line with our Smart Marine approach that emphasizes greater efficiency and better environmental performance for customers, as we lead the industry’s transformation into a new era of opportunity.”

The vessel will be fitted with two Wärtsilä 20DF dual-fuel generating sets and a Wärtsilä LNGPac system. The scope of supply also includes Wärtsilä’s patented Cold Recovery system, which utilizes the latent heat of LNG in the ship’s air conditioning, thus reducing electricity consumption. In addition to the environmental benefits, significant operational cost savings and an increase in overall vessel efficiency are the expected outcomes of the project. Delivery of the Wärtsilä equipment will commence in spring 2020, and completion of the retrofitting is anticipated during Q1 2021.

“Operating our vessels in the most ecologically friendly way possible is of the utmost importance to us. Wärtsilä’s technology is already known to us, so we had no hesitation to contract them again to retrofit the ‘Münsterland’ to allow it to operate without restrictions in the SECA and NECA sulphur and nitrogen oxide controlled areas,” said Bernhard Brons, managing director of AG Ems.

In addition to the retrofitting of these two ferries, the owners also ordered via a subsidiary company, Cassen Eils, a full Wärtsilä dual-fuel package for LNG operation for the ferry Helgoland. The ship entered service in 2015.

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