Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group, part of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, was awarded a contract from GE for the supply of power and propulsion systems for six LNG carriers that it will build in its shipyard in Shanghai for major Asian shipping companies, including China Shipping Group and Sinopec Kantons Holdings. The carriers, each at 174,000 cu m, will be used for transporting LNG from Australia to China, and projected to be delivered between April 2016 and November 2017.
The decision to use dual-fuel diesel-electric (DFDE) propulsion for the new LNG carriers marks a turning point in propulsion systems for large LNG ships built in China where until now either steam turbines or two-stroke engine technology has been the norm. Electrical propulsion technology is more efficient and presents less of a burden on the environment due to lower fuel consumption and emissions. DFDE drive systems also are more compact than alternatives, enabling carriers to hold more cargo.
“The combination of a single pulse width modulator (PWM) drive and high-power direct-drive induction motor per shaft line is both simple to install and operate, has a very low maintenance requirement and is extremely reliable,” said Paul English, marine business leader for GE Power Conversion. “We will provide Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group with technical support during the design phase of the systems and share our technical expertise on the DFDE solution.”
At Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group, Jin Yan Zi, VP business and purchase says, “These important contracts for our next-generation LNG carriers mark the beginning of a new relationship with GE’s Power Conversion business.”
GE will supply induction motors with PWM propulsion technology driven by electricity generated from high-efficiency “dual-fuel” engines that can run on natural gas, marine diesel gas or heavy fuel oil. The combination of dual-fuel engines, which can use boil-off gas from the carrier’s LNG tanks, and GE’s electrical variable-speed drives, presents a proven solution that is now commonly used on LNG carriers.
For each vessel, GE will supply two propulsion systems comprising of generators, main and cargo switchboards, transformers, MV7000 converters, motors and remote control. GE is responsible for design, engineering, commissioning, training and assistance for sea and gas trials.
“This is our first LNG carrier, and with a strong partner like GE helps ensure the lifetime of the vessel, said China Shipping Group’s Managing Director/CEO Xu Lirong. “It was important that we partnered with a company who showcases a strong willingness to invest and expand its marine business in China.”