World leaders and key negotiators from 196 countries have been working together in Paris to reach a global agreement on climate change.
A primary focus of the COP 21 climate conference has been on curbing global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Much of the discussion has concentrated on long-term measures to cut emissions associated with burning fossil fuels - coal, oil and natural gas.
The need for more technologically-efficient designs, cleaner marine fuels and environmentally-friendly shipping is one of the great challenges facing the worldwide maritime sector. According to a European Parliament report, as the global economy expands and countries and other industries reduce their carbon footprint, by 2050 shipping could account for over 16 per cent of all CO2 released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity.
Across the world, shipping companies and maritime organisations are rising to this challenge. They include China's Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co (NACKS) and Lloyd's Register which have developed a new 28K dual-fuelled multi-purpose vessel (MPV) design. The newly-unveiled vessel design comprises a 500m3 Type 'C' liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel containment system located aft and on deck over the engine room and LNG fuel supply system.
The vessel's main engine is a high pressure gas fuel system while the main electrical generator and boiler are in a low pressure gas fuel system. Accommodation is located forward, maximising space for cargo operations and three deck cranes which are situated on the port rail.
The ground-breaking design complies with Lloyd's Register regulations for natural gas-fuelled ships and has also been through the classification society's ShipRight Assessment of Risk Based Design (ARBD) procedure - a highly robust risk assessment analysis and report process pioneered by Lloyd's Register. The dual-fuelled system design and arrangement have also achieved Lloyd's Register's approval in principle and gas fuelled readiness descriptive notation.
"MPVs are important workhorses in commercial shipping, providing more flexibility in operation," says Tsuneshiro Yamamoto, vice president of NACKS. "While COP 21 discussions are ongoing, the industry is required to showcase an appropriate response to the need for ever-cleaner designs. This evolution of our proven 28,000 dwt multi-purpose vessel design demonstrates that shipping can provide clean fuel designs to meet the requirements of world trade."
Lloyd's Register provides the highest levels of expertise and experience to ensure the shipping industry makes the appropriate commercial decisions based on the best technical insight.
Wei Ying, principal specialist and general manager at the Lloyd's Register technical support office in Shanghai, says: "We are continuing to share our understanding of marine risk and the realities of LNG as a marine fuel in both short sea and the development of designs, like this one, suitable for the deep sea trades, by providing the insight and experience needed by ship designers, shipbuilders and operators."
The ground-breaking dual-fuelled MPV design will help reduce the vessel’s carbon footprint.
Meanwhile, with the development of gas as a marine fuel going beyond LNG, the classification society has developed a notation to help ensure that new fuel technologies can be adapted effectively. The notation for low-flashpoint fuels (LFPF) enables owners and shipyards to demonstrate that their design and construction meet regulatory requirements. The notation comes into effect on 1 January 2016.
Two major recent changes in legislation broadened the horizons for gas applications, encompassing the use of low-flashpoint fuels for gas carriers and non-gas carriers and the classification society’s role is to ensure clear standards, requirements and methodology are put in place to achieve the required levels of safety and reliability.
"The innovation in gas carriers and non-gas carriers using gas as a marine fuel has been tremendous over the last two years," says Leo Karistios, Lloyd's Register's global gas technology market manager. "Our new class notation LFPF is Lloyd’s Register’s response to the market’s evolution. Our rules and regulations are evolving at the same pace so that classification’s role maintains its significance in the marine and gas market sectors."