As the maritime industry debates the "future fuel", one carrier, United European Car Carriers (UECC), plows forward, celebrating today the keel-laying of its third in a series of PCTCs powered by a liquefied natural gas (LNG) battery hybrid arrangement.
The ceremony at China's Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard saw the laying of the keel for the hull designated H2665 as part of an ambitious newbuild program in which UECC is taking the lead in sustainable shipping by developing the first-ever vessels to run on hybrid propulsion power fueled by LNG.
All told the ships measure 169 by 28 meters, offering a car carrying capacity of 3,600 units on 10 cargo decks. This ships are built to be flexible, able to accommodate a wide range of high & heavy and break-bulk cargoes, in addition to cars and trucks.
The addition of the three newbuilds will give UECC five eco-friendly vessels, or half of its 10-vessel fleet.
“When they hit the water, these state-of-the-art vessels will represent a sea change for the industry by using available LNG technology to drastically cut emissions on short sea shipping in Europe,” said Glenn Edvardsen, CEO, UECC.
The first newbuild is due for delivery later this year after being launched at the yard last month, with the second and third vessels set to be delivered in the first half of 2022.
Building for 2030 and beyond
Edvardsen said the trio represent “a giant leap towards decarbonization” as the use of a battery-hybrid solution will take UECC beyond the IMO target of a 40% reduction in carbon intensity from 2008 levels by 2030. The three vessels will also meet the IMO’s Tier 3 NOx emissions limitations entering into force in the Baltic Sea and North Sea from keel lays this year.
Battery power on the new vessels will improve operational efficiency and further reduce emissions through peak shaving, in addition to handling partial accommodation load and driving auxiliary equipment. This will enable them to recharge batteries while at sea using a shaft generator in order to use battery power for maneuvering in ports in line with port requirements to cut emissions.
UECC said the use of LNG will reduce emissions by around 25% as the fuel emits zero SOx and negligible amounts of particulate matter and NOx, while it is also affordable and widely available through an existing bunkering network. In addition, the newbuild trio will be equipped with dual-fuel engines for main propulsion and auxiliaries that will also be able to use carbon-neutral and synthetic drop-in fuels as these become commercially available in the future.
Edvardsen noted that while being good for the environment, this investment represents a business imperative as the eco-friendly ship operations will be a key differentiating factor in winning cargo contracts in the future shipping market due to increased pressure from regulators, port authorities and clients.