Safety valve system for the world’s first LNG powered containership

The world’s first LNG powered containership

In April 2015, General Dynamics NASSCO’s shipyard in San Diego delivered the world’s first LNG powered containership, the Isla Bella, to its customer TOTE Maritime. The Isla Bella is one of two LNG fueled sister ships that TOTE Maritime are operating in the North American and Caribbean Emission Control Areas (ECA).

The ships sail on TOTE Maritime’s trade route between Jacksonville, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico. With their dual-fuel LNG engine technology, the ships are among the most environmentally friendly containerships in the world and they greatly exceed the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s clean air regulations.

Eltronic FuelTech was tasked with supplying a double block and bleed safety valve configuration for the Isla Bella’s dual fuel engine. Under design-license from MAN Diesel & Turbo, HSD Engine of South Korea, built and delivered the 539 tonnes dual-fuel ME-GI engines, powering each vessel with a staggering 34.000 horsepower for propulsion.

GVT is the most important gas equipment for ME-GI engines

Manager of the Initial Design Team at HSD Engine, Mr. Hyun-Soo Shin, explains the project:

“Basically, the ME-GI engine requires various gas components to control and monitor the fuel gas supplied from the fuel gas supply system. One of the major gas components is the Gas Valve Train (GVT) which was manufactured by Eltronic A/S in Denmark.

To keep gas safety, it is important that all fuel gas have to be controlled and monitored by the GVT all the time during gas run. If gas failure is detected during gas operation like a gas leakage or gas safety system malfunction, immediate gas stop/shutdown will be activated by both ME-GI and the GVT. Besides additional function, the gas release to the air, purge and gas tightness test will be fulfilled with GVT.

With these important and various duties, we considered that the GVT is the most important gas equipment for ME-GI engines and had carried out various tests and inspections during combined test with ME-GI at our shop”.

The Gas Valve Train

The Isla Bella is equipped with the Gas Valve Train MK1 developed by Eltronic Fuel Tech. The Gas Valve Train is a required safety valve system onboard gas and dual-fueled vessels, which opens and closes the gas supply to the engines and purges the system with inert gas in the event of a shutdown.

This is an essential function for obtaining maritime safety classification and a function required by insurance companies for them to insure gas fueled ships.

The dual-fuel technology has environmental benefits and enables an economically viable mean of propulsion since LNG-transporting ships can sail much more cost-effectively on the excess gases from their cryogenic cargo.

For other LNG fueled ships with no boil off gases, the low price of LNG is competitive when compared with the cost of traditional fuel oil or marine diesel. All in all, this makes LNG an attractive alternative fuel for shipping.

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About HSD Engine

HSD Engine is transforming and innovating top-quality engines in step with the rapidly changing industry in the 21st century.

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