The DNV is now offering shipowners the support they need to make newbuilds and existing vessels ‘LNG ready’ with class approved designs, ready for later, simple retrofit of LNG technology.
The service enables shipowners to make smart choices and minimal investments now in readiness for when LNG bunkering becomes widely available. Shipowners are supported through all stages of the decision-making process as they prepare to meet the IMO air emission regulations entering into force from 2015. There are three obvious technology options for meeting Emission Control Area (ECA) requirements: installing a scrubber, switching to low sulphur fuel oil or to go for LNG as fuel and installing gas engines. Alternative fuels such as methanol and biofuels are also being developed. “Each option has different uncertainties, for example the relative immaturity of some technologies and the effect market forces will have on the price of the different fuels. These factors are making commitment to a specific solution particularly difficult at this point in time,” says Dr Gerd-Michael Würsig, Business Director for LNG fuelled ships at DNV. “The cheapest investment may end up being the most expensive option in the long run, so many shipowners are rightly cautious.”
DNV believes LNG will be a good solution for many for meeting both SOx and NOx requirements. However, the right option will depend on the shipowner’s time horizon, says Dr Würsig. A wrong technical decision could increase the cumulative cost of operation by millions of US dollars over the ship’s lifetime.