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TOTE Revisiting Orca-Class LNG Conversions
gCaptain ^ | Nov. 9, 2017 | gCaptain Staff

Posted on 11/10/2017 3:34:06 PM PST by Oatka

MV North Star. Photo: TOTE

TOTE Maritime Alaska, a division of TOTE, Inc., has announced that it will convert two of its diesel-electric roll-on/roll-off ships to dual fuel operations using liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The two vessels, ‘North Star’ and ‘Midnight Sun’, are both currently powered by four MAN 58/64 engines running on HFO. But, working with MAN Diesel & Turbo’s after-sales division on the conversion, the engines will be retrofitted to run on cleaner-burning LNG fuel.

The contract between TOTE and MAN was signed in April 2017 and covers the design, development, and testing of a first-of-its-kind dual-fuel kit.

The conversion work will take place at Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyard in British Columbia, Canada. The retrofits will be completed in early 2020 and early 2021, respectively.

The projects will represent the largest LNG conversions in North America, according to TOTE.

TOTE has been working to convert the two Orca-class ships to alternative fuel since at least 2012, and in August 2015 the company announced it had selected to Keppel Shipyard in Singapore to carry out the first conversion beginning in December 2015, with the second to take place in 2016 or 2017. The project, however, was pushed back due to the loss of the MV El Faro in October 2015.

TOTE Maritime Alaska handles approximately one-third of goods transported between the continental US and Alaska. Both the North Star and Midnight Sun operate Jones Act routes between Anchorage, Alaska and Tacoma, Washington. The two Orca class ships were originally constructed by NASSCO at its San Diego yard and were commissioned in 2003.

“TOTE Maritime Alaska is excited to convert its fleet to LNG power which will result in a significant reduction in air emissions including particulate matter, sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx). This significant investment of time and money is a reflection of our commitment to the environment, our customers and the state of Alaska,” commented Michael Noone, President of TOTE Maritime Alaska.

In 2012, TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, another TOTE company, ordered the world’s first LNG-powered containerships, the ‘Isla Bella’ and ‘Perla del Caribe’, which were launched in 2015. Both feature a single MAN B&W 8L70ME-GI engine.

“We have been investigating and testing many options for shifting the fleet to LNG. The conversion of the existing engines is the most reliable and beneficial solution” said Peter Keller, Executive Vice President of TOTE. “This innovative solution that has been developed in partnership with MAN, will be an important milestone for the industry as we all prepare for the IMO sulphur cap in 2020.”

TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: naturalgas; shipping
A quiet revolution underway without the impetus of the so-called "Paris Accords".

These are Jones Act ships, so hopefully these economies will lower shipping costs to Alaska and Puerto Rico.

Another related change that is coming: "ABB to deliver first fuel cell system for Royal Caribbean November 9, 2017 by gCaptain".

The system is aimed to be piloted on board a Royal Caribbean International vessel and will be the first fuel cell system to provide an energy source for a luxury cruise ship.

Last year was the first time that mobile power from fuel cells exceeded stationary installations, according to The Fuel Cell Industry Review 2016, and the maritime industry is quickly recognizing the potential of a technology that delivers emissions-free simplicity, maintainability and efficiency.

“Our goal is to take the smoke out of the smokestacks, said Harri Kulovaara, Executive Vice President of Maritime and Newbuilding, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We are dedicated to innovation, continuous improvement, and environmental responsibility, and using fuel cell technology gives us the opportunity to deliver against all three of these pillars.”

“This pilot installation demonstrates that fuel cell technology is now firmly in sight of the cruise industry,” said Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports. “Fuel cells have been the next big thing for 25 years, but now they are reality.”

Fuel cells generate energy by exploiting an electrochemical reaction at the interface between the anode or cathode and the electrolyte membrane. They involve no combustion, converting fuel directly to electricity and heat.

“At ABB, we believe that the next generations of vessels will be electric, digital and connected. Fuel cell technology matches exactly that. Fuel cells have significantly higher efficiency than combustion engines and allow energy to be concentrated more densely than in petroleum fuels. If you use renewables to produce the hydrogen the entire energy chain is clean and truly emission free,” Koskela continues.

The pilot installation, including control, converter and transformer technology from ABB, will generate 100 kW of energy, and has been fully developed, marinized, assembled and tested by ABB Marine & Ports. ABB selected an FCvelocity® proton exchange membrane (PEM) pure hydrogen fuel cell engine from Ballard Power Systems for its pilot system.

The debut installation, which anticipates RCL’s commitment to include emissions-free fuel cell technology as part of the powering for its forthcoming Icon-class ships will be on display at the owner’s Technology Display Days event in New York, 8-10 November.

1 posted on 11/10/2017 3:34:06 PM PST by Oatka
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To: Oatka

Interesting post, thanks.

2 posted on 11/10/2017 3:39:47 PM PST by mad_as_he$$
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To: Oatka

Is this conversion a result of fuel economics, or a result economics related to EPA/Evil Environmentalists?

I suspect the latter.

3 posted on 11/10/2017 3:48:39 PM PST by Balding_Eagle ( The Great Wall of Trump ---- 100% sealing of the border. Coming soon.)
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To: Oatka

Not only cleaner, but compared to burning bunker C or a heavy distillate, lower maintenance cost than either boiler or Diesel engine.

4 posted on 11/10/2017 4:00:51 PM PST by cicero2k
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To: Balding_Eagle

The enviro-weenies are having fits over the construction of a LNG dispensing station in Tacoma Washington (a largish city in Washington state). They don’t care that LNG is better for the environment much less the economy.

Pure NIMBY-ism.

5 posted on 11/10/2017 4:31:50 PM PST by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: Balding_Eagle
"Is this conversion a result of fuel economics, or a result economics related to EPA/Evil Environmentalists?"

In this specific case, I think not. Fracking has dropped the cost of natgas so much that diesel is simply less economical. And as fracking continues to burgeon and become more efficient, the difference is only going to get larger.

6 posted on 11/10/2017 4:53:21 PM PST by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel and NRA Life Member)
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To: rockrr
"They don’t care that LNG is better for the environment much less the economy."

There was a letter in the Tacoma Tribune (I think) yesterday, bitching and moaning about how dangerous an LNG facility was likely to be, and touting "renewables". If this fool had any idea of the toxic chemicals involved in making solar cells, she would pee her panties.

7 posted on 11/10/2017 4:57:00 PM PST by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel and NRA Life Member)
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To: Wonder Warthog

Yea, I think the quote was the melodramatic “It’s not a question of if but when” (there will be some sort of accident).

If applied across the board we would never crawl out of bed (maybe that’s really what she wants?!)

8 posted on 11/10/2017 5:41:14 PM PST by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: Oatka

I was supposed to be first in line as Chief Mate for a new twin screw LNG ship running Alaska to CA. The price of LNG fell and the ship was never constructed. About 1980

9 posted on 11/10/2017 6:03:18 PM PST by Cold Heart
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