New megatrends in naval architecture


Decarbonization and digitalization are two sides of the same coin.

Image courtesy of Uzmar

Posted on 23 July 2022 19:36 by

Sean M. Holt

(Article originally published in the May/June 2022 edition.)

New megatrends in naval architecture are re-energizing the industry with a focus on decarbonization (reducing emissions) and digitalization (optimizing operations). These megatrends are fundamentally complementary and qualified by many as “two sides of the same coin”.

Driven by technology, regulation, sustainable investing, and even space travel, countless projects are underway. Here is a small sampling of some of the more exciting activities.

A lighter footprint

Norwegian company Stena Power & LNG Solutions has developed a complete LNG transfer solution as an alternative to the conventional jetty and floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) configuration. Its Jettyless semi-submersible floating terminal (JFT) – capable of transferring LNG, LPG, ammonia (NH3), liquefied hydrogen (LH2) and liquefied CO2 – eliminates fixed handling equipment, bridges on trestles and environmentally harmful breakwaters. Instead, the ship-to-ship transfer of LNG via JFT is stored on a cheaper floating storage unit (FSU).

Regasification (conversion of LNG from a liquid to a gaseous state by heat exchange) can occur on self-installing regas platforms (SRPs) and then transferred to carrier vessels or ashore via connections underwater. Locating regassing units offshore offers natural advantages for cooler ambient air vaporizers in hot climates and submerged combustion vaporizers in cold climates. Additionally, SRP units can be retrofitted for carbon capture.

Compared to fixed land terminals, the cost savings would be at least forty percent and could go from contract to operation in 20 months. Modular and scalable design provides faster gas-to-market capability; can be located away from busy ports and shipping lanes; allows for unit replacement and easy dismantling/relocation, and is resistant to tsunamis and earthquakes.

As an added benefit, 300-600 MW self-installing power platforms (SPPs) and integrated power barges (IPBs) can produce up to 60 million liters per day of desalinated drinking water – enough for a small town. !

Stena’s 2035 vision enables the transition and production of “green” liquefied hydrogen (LH2) by integrating offshore wind power. Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis using wind, solar or hydroelectric power. The hydrogen is captured for use and the oxygen is vented to the atmosphere without negative impact.

Eventually, the existing natural gas/LNG infrastructure can be removed and recycled. Such a setup reduces the environmental footprint, allows wider geographic access to clean energy sources, and powers underserved regions.

After completing full front-end engineering and design (FEED) including class approval, JFT and Stena’s SRP were recently awarded a contract with Singapore-based Delta Offshore Energy. The infrastructure project will supply power to a 3,200 MW power plant in Vietnam’s Bac Lieu province in the Mekong Delta, about 40 km from the Vietnamese coast. The project will help create an alternative energy source while protecting coastal shrimp farms, mangroves and salt beds.

Green energy

As part of its global market strategy, Turkish shipyard UZMAR plans to replace its entire fleet of tugboats with new, environmentally friendly constructions. UZMAR and Robert Allan Ltd. have signed an agreement to design and build a series of four new methanol-powered tugs starting in the fourth quarter of 2022. The vessels will have an overall length of 25 meters (82 ft) to 32 meters (105 ft) and include a tug design of tractor. Their improved energy efficiency will significantly reduce annual CO2 emissions.

“According to our research which has been going on for more than five years,” says UZMAR CEO Ahmet Altug, “our team believes that the most applicable, cleanest and most efficient energy choice for tugs is methanol. .”

In May, naval architecture firm Glosten and Hornblower Energy announced a partnership for the first green marine hydrogen fueling station in the United States. The three-year project will incorporate a floating platform, the production of green hydrogen via hydroelectricity and storage and refueling capacities of up to kg per day at Pier 68 in San Francisco Bay.

“Building the hydrogen ecosystem on the waterfront will be key to enabling the growth of zero-emissions hydrogen-powered ships on our waterways,” notes Sean Caughlan, Glosten’s principal marine engineer. “This is a win for our industry, our air quality and our climate.” Refueling should be available by 2024 for ships such as Sea Change and Discovery Zero.

Better design decisions

To get some insight into the design decisions, we spoke to Donald MacPherson, technical director of US-based HydroComp, a leader in applied hydrodynamics and propeller design.

“For us, everything is a system problem first and a component problem second,” he says. “When designing for production, it’s all a matter of components for everything to fit. must be viewed as a system. Over the past two decades, regulating emissions through ship performance has become a part of important design.

MacPherson points out that discussions are often flawed by focusing on components, such as energy-saving devices, while missing the value of a systems-oriented perspective. “As tool developers, we answer system questions to help make better business decisions.”

To illustrate what he means, he gives an example: “What hull shape do I need? This needs to be locked in early as it affects layout, compartmentation, cargo capacity, speed, resistance and power of the vessel. It’s like choosing a drive system and fixing it early. Will it be diesel-hybrid/electric, LNG or bi-fuel? We like to solve puzzles and make models to through simulations such as reduced vessel resistance and better throughput for the propeller.

Although it is difficult to get solid quantitative feedback from operators on the performance of the vessels after delivery, HydroComp says a hull improvement and propeller flow design project for a
ro-ro/passenger fleet in the Mediterranean saved 3,000 tonnes of CO2 per vessel per year.

Digital twin for victory

Discussing the evolution of 2D printed design plans to a 3D model with geometric information at its core, Dr Volker Bertram, Senior Project Manager at class society DNV, comments: “It’s the backbone many other fun things: virtual reality, simulations, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element analysis (FEA).

He says the new buzzword, ‘Digital Twin’, has a vision to move with the times: “For example, as a classification society, we would have measurements of how thick steel plates are and how much some left over or wasted. We input this data into the digital twin model, and then we can simulate or mimic the physical asset that is aging and weakening. Now there has been a collision. Let’s run an update on the finite element model to see how much strength is left. Are we going to end up tearing the ship apart if we attach a tug or a line?”

Bertram continues: “If we have the ‘as designed’ look of the ship in the form of a 3D construction model, but the ship is built, but not quite ‘as designed’, we can use the laser scanning to update the actual geometry. This, quite audaciously, would require passing the 3D models from the shipyard to the owner or recreating it on the owner’s side. Then as the vessel evolves, as the added a scrubber, we’re updating that in the computer model.Following the modifications and renovations we’re getting near real-time condition-based monitoring.

When asked what the primary purpose of the digital twin is, Bertram’s answer is “better decision making.” He concludes: “The beauty is being able to explore ‘what if’ scenarios such as those that affect fuel efficiency. What if I don’t clean the hull now? Where will I be in three months on my fuel consumption? According to the Clean Shipping Coalition, dirty hulls cost the industry up to $30 billion a year.

Currently, in Singapore shipyards, digital reality capture twins are being implemented for construction management and condition assessment. Called a “single source of truth” or “unified collaboration platform”, CupixWorks ingests reality capture from laser/LiDAR, 2D, 360° and drone images and compares it to 3D design and building information modules (BIM) of software such as Autodesk (Revit & Navisworks), ProCore or Primavera.

Joshua Bibb, Director of Strategy and Business Development, explains, “Cupix is ​​the only 360° capture solution that understands 3D and aligns images geospatially (X, Y and Z axes), providing precise context to all images. The result is a Google Street visual experience of your vessel/asset. Plus, you can compare multiple dates and BIM models, make annotations, and automatically track progress using artificial intelligence and augmented reality. Cupix is ​​a tool that allows naval architects to assess design intent by-built, “as-installed” or “as-in-service”, as well as effectively troubleshoot or correct issues with dispersed teams , all without having to set foot on the vessel/physical asset.”

Ad Astra by Aspera

Interested in a career in naval and space architecture? SpaceX recently posted job openings for “marine engineer” and “naval architect.” It will design and develop new marine launch and recovery systems for the Starship program. The oil rigs, now named Phobus and Deimos (Mars moons), will support Elon Musk’s red planet ambitions.

With all the advancements and activities going on, naval architecture has never been so cool. – MarEx

Regular contributor Sean Holt is based in Singapore and may be involved with some of the companies mentioned in his column.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.


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