LNG-Powered EcoLiner Designed for Fuel Economy on Inland Waterways

LNG-Powered EcoLiner Designed for Fuel Economy on Inland Waterways

Early February Damen Shipyards Group launched the first LNG-powered Damen EcoLiner inland shipping tanker at its Romanian yard. The EcoLiner is developed to deliver much-needed fuel economy for inland shipping operators while at the same time cutting emissions.

The EcoLiner design combines conventional, proven engineering with sustainable innovations, including the world’s first installations of the ACES Air-Lubricated Hull, a gas-electrical shaft propulsion system and one of the first Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel installations. The pioneering vessel dramatically reduces fuel costs by up to 25%.

The European Union, following its ambitious goal towards greening the transport sector, co-finances this project from the Trans-European Transport Network Programme with more than €1.1 million as part of the project “LNG Masterplan for Rhine-Main-Danube”.

Damen recently completed comprehensive tank testing of the new design at research institute MARIN, which confirmed the EcoLiner’s efficiency. Simon Provoost, Product Director Inland Waterway Transport at Damen Shipyards, says testing how the design combined multiple innovations was very important so that Damen could offer the 3,040 m3 capacity EcoLiner to the market with utmost confidence.

“After successfully testing at MARIN, we can now complete the build in the Netherlands and we’re talking with a number of interested parties. Fuel accounts for a very large proportion of inland shipping costs, so if operators can save 20% or more, that generates a lot of interest,” Provoost said. “Every part of the EcoLiner has been designed to reduce fuel consumption, That, combined with low-emission LNG instead of marine diesel, makes the EcoLiner easily the greenest inland shipping vessel in Europe. It’s increasingly important for owners and clients to demonstrate sustainable operations and prepare for future ‘green corridors’ subject to inland emissions regulations.”

Innovations on board the EcoLiner:

  • First to combine gas-electric propulsion with trusted, low-maintenance shaft propulsion configuration
  • Clean LNG fuel dramatically reduces CO2, SOX, NOX and particulate emissions
  • Power management system for 4 x LNG fueled generator sets ensures optimum engine loads and reduced fuel consumption upstream and downstream
  • ACES air lubrication has demonstrated 15% fuel savings
  • Retractable Van der Velden® FLEX tunnels reduce resistance, and make it possible to install larger, high efficiency ducted propellers
  • Optional waste heat recovery system to heat or cool cargo and accommodation
  • The EcoLiner project is managed by Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld

The EcoLiner project is managed by Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld. Rob Schuurmans, project manager and the initiator of this innovative concept says: “With the hull built in Romania and installation and outfitting of all main systems in the Netherlands, including all generator-gas engines, power management, propulsion and steering gear, we make efficient use of our specialized facilities. The ship is 110 metres long and is Bureau Veritas-classed. Delivery is scheduled in the summer of 2015.”

The first EcoLiner will be delivered as a tanker, however the modular design can be built to transport any commodity, including containers and dry bulk. The complete LNG installation, including tanks with bunker capacity of approximately 45 m3 LNG, is located aft of the accommodation, ensuring that the configuration forward of the cofferdam can be entirely tailored to customer-specific requirements.

The Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ADN-UNECE) has approved the gas-powered design, meaning the vessel can travel on all international inland waterways.


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