UECC has taken delivery of the world’s first dual-fuel LNG battery hybrid pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) that is set to provide significant gains in energy efficiency and emissions reduction as it enters service this year to boost the leading European shortsea ro-ro carrier’s bold effort to decarbonize its fleet. The Auto Advance is the first in a series of three newbuild PCTCs – measuring 169 by 28 meters and with capacity for 3,600 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.
“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,” said UECC Chief Executive Glenn Edvardsen. “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.”
LNG battery hybrid technology, together with an optimized 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. The new vessels will also meet the IMO’s Tier 3 NOx emissions limitations for the North Sea and Baltic Sea.
Dual fuel engine technology has now 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-fueled 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.
Batteries can be most efficiently charged while at sea using the shaft generator so that they are fully charged when entering port, enabling the vessel to maneuver in port using bow thrusters driven solely by battery power that can also supply the ship’s other energy needs while it is docked.
Operational flexibility can deliver significant fuel efficiency gains and, combined with a low-emissions profile, this will give the vessels an advantage in the European market as EU plans to include shipping in the Emissions Trading System are set to hike costs for polluting ships.
“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,” commented UECC’s energy and sustainability manager Daniel Gent. “We are therefore taking advantage of the best available fuel solution now and combining this with hybrid technology to further cut emissions. We are also ready to use alternative low-emission fuels such as biofuel, bio-LNG and synthetic LNG as these become commercially and technically viable.”