Wes Amelie Container Ship Conversion, Germany
German shipping company Wessels Reederei contracted MAN Diesel & Turbo to retrofit Wes Amelie, a 1,000TEU feeder container ship to enable dual-fuel operation, in November 2015.
Wes Amelie is claimed to be the first of its kind to be converted into a liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered vessel.
The LNG conversion will ensure the ship significantly reduces sulphur oxide emissions by more than 99%, nitrogen oxide emissions by approximately 90%, and carbon dioxide by up to 20%.
In October 2015, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure released a grant for the vessel's retrofit through the Mobility and Fuel Strategy programme, which was launched to promote maritime use of LNG as an environment friendly fuel.
The conversion will be performed at MAN Diesel & Turbo's German shipyard in the fourth quarter of 2016. The completely converted LNG powered vessel is scheduled to be launched in December 2016.
Upon conversion, the vessel will meet emission requirements set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). It will also achieve a significant reduction in particulate and CO2 emissions and meet future stringent tier III emissions set by the IMO.
Wes Amelie conversion project details
Launched in 2011, Wes Amelie is a modern feeder vessel operating in the North and Baltic Seas. Significant efforts were made in the selection of the vessel for conversion to achieve a significant multiplier effect, through which follow-up conversion projects will benefit.
Other factors considered during the selection process included scalability of engineering services, development costs and costs of follow-up projects.
Wes Amelie has 23 sister ships, of which 16 are structurally identical making it easy to execute follow-up projects after the first conversion. The common conversion model will also reduce costs involved with consecutive conversions, preventing the need for further financial support.
Technical specifications of Wes Amelie container ship
The vessel was built according to German-Dutch design and has an overall length of 151.72m and beam of 23.4m. It has a deadweight of 13,200 metric ton (mt), gross tonnage of 10,585mt and net tonnage of 4,958mt.
The vessel has a maximum service speed of 18.5kt and an eco speed of 13kt. It can carry 1,036 TEUs, 403 45ft containers and 740 14t containers.
It has been classified by Bureau Veritas (BV) as BV + 1 HULL AND MACH INWATER SURVEY AUT - UMS ICE 1A CONTAINERSHIP (EQUAL FINISH-SWEDISH).
Wes Amelie LNG-fuelled propulsion
The vessel was originally fitted with a MAN 8L48/60B main diesel engine with a continuous rating of 9,000kW at 500rpm, which will be replaced with a multi-fuel, four stroke MAN 51/60DF engine.
MAN Diesel & Turbo, an engine manufacturer, in co-operation with gas specialist TGE Marine Engineering, is involved in the engine conversion, which includes reconstruction of the main engine plant and installation of a new LNG tank.
Components of the combustion chamber and associated systems including water cooling jacket, pistons, piston rings, injection components and cylinder head will be replaced. The cylinder bore will be increased from 48cm to 51cm and the pilot oil system for gas operation will be completely reconstructed.
New valve cams and turbocharger rotor assembly will be added to allow for a change of ignition timing for the new engine. Engine sensors will also be converted and new instruments installed to optimise performance of the new engine. The entire conversion process requires approximately 30t of material.
Key players involved
MAN Diesel & Turbo will supply the conversion components required for the conversion programme. The required calculations and blueprints for the conversion and installation will be provided by engineering company SMB Naval Architects & Consultants.
TGE Marine Gas Engineering will provide tank and LNG components.
Increasing popularity of low-emission propulsion systems
The transition to low emission propulsion systems is gaining importance in the shipping industry as a result of the 2015 Exhaust Emission Directive released by the IMO for the Emission Controlled Areas (ECAs) of the North and Baltic Seas.
Since 2013, Wessels Reederei with its partners MAN Diesel & Turbo and TGE Marine Gas Engineering have been working on a possible conversion of 1,000TEU container ships from heavy oil to low-emission LNG operation.
The company also studied the installation of an emission control system (scrubber), which allows the use of heavy fuel oil in ECA zones. LNG operation is preferred as an ideal solution as scrubbers offer poor environmental performance compared to LNG propulsion.