Damen Shipyards has launched its first LNG-powered inland shipping tanker, EcoLiner, which is designed to lower fuel consumption and emissions.

The tanker features 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, Damen said.

Equipped with four LNG-powered generators delivering 280kVA, the new vessel is said to reduce fuel costs by up to 25% and operational costs by at least 15% compared with conventional alternatives.

Damen Shipyards Inland Waterway Transport product director Simon 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."

Damen has completed comprehensive tank testing of the new design at the research institute MARIN.

"Every part of the EcoLiner has been designed to reduce fuel consumption."

The 110m-long and Bureau Veritas-class vessel will also include an optional waste heat recovery system, which will be able to heat or cool cargo and accommodation.

Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld project manager Rob Schuurmans said: "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 specialised facilities."

The EcoLiner is scheduled for delivery later this year.

The project was co-financed by the EU, with more than €1.1m as part of the LNG Masterplan for Rhine-Main-Danube project.

Image: The Damen EcoLiner inland shipping tanker lowers fuel consumption and emissions. Photo: courtesy of Damen Shipyards Group.