Tech Firms Initiate LNG Innovation


The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has announced a collaboration with OceanFinance and Scorpius Space Launch Company (SSLC) to adapt composite technologies for the space industry to liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipping.

The project, called SPACE TECH4SEA, has attracted more than USD $1 million in grant funding from the European Commission and aims to develop eco-friendly marine fuel designs.

The three-year project will adapt SSLC’s PRESSUREMAXX composite tanks for marine applications based on its current use in a range of industries and more than 200 clients, including NASA.

Composite carbon fiber technology, one of the areas of focus for the project, allows the development of ultralight compact tanks, which in turn allows LNG to be a feasible fuel for a broader range of marine vessels.

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LNG development is a key area of research for many shipping lines as the industry prepares for the upcoming rules on sulphur emission, due to come into force on January 1 2020.

Speaking about the project, ABS Vice President for Global Gas Solutions Patrick Janssens, said: “ABS remains at the forefront of LNG innovation by partnering with ground-breaking companies all over the world.

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“Existing LNG tank technology can make adoption of the fuel prohibitively expensive. This composite technology has proven itself in other industries; we are committed to learning how to safely apply those lessons to benefit the maritime industries.”

Dr Panayotis Zacharioudakis, Managing Director, OceanFinance, also commented: “This technology is a game-changer product that will unlock latent demand for LNG as marine fuel.

“The benefit of leveraging this US space technology, to improve the environment in European Sea basins, is obvious. We expect the introduction of this innovative product will enable sales of more than 2,000 tanks in the next 10 years.”

SSLC President and CEO Markus Rufer also stated: “Composite technology can make LNG a compelling choice for ship owners.

“The size and weight of existing technology reduces capacity and increases the need for additional horsepower.

“Composite tanks will remove these issues, offering significant improvement in vessels’ OPEX and CAPEX, making LNG as a marine fuel viable for a wide range of marine applications.”

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