Lloyd’s Register has issued an Approval in Principle of GE Energy
’s LM2500-based, gas turbine propulsion system for liquefied natural gas (LNGLF)
Gas turbine propulsion systems have been widely used on naval and cruise ships, but are new to LNG vessels. The Approval in Principle, issued through Lloyd’s Register North America, Inc, gives GE Energy a high level of confidence that the marine industry will embrace its gas turbine propulsion system design as a viable alternative to traditional propulsion methods for the next generation of large LNG tankers.
Traditionally, LNG tankers have been powered by steam turbine engines, but as larger vessels are built to accommodate the growing demand for natural gas, standard propulsion systems are beginning to demonstrate certain shortcomings, such as low efficiency, high emissions, lack of availability of steam-qualified crew and the high costs associated with scaling steam turbine systems for larger tankers. GE Energy believes its LM2500-based, gas turbine propulsion system addresses these issues and offers many other benefits, including the ability to burn the boil-off gas from LNG containment systems in a natural, reliable and redundant manner. GE Energy also believes its gas turbines provide improved maintainability over other systems.
Based on years of hands-on experience with LNG ship technology, a consulting team of engineering and electrical design specialists from various parts of the Lloyd’s Register Group performed a comprehensive study of the system’s suitability for use on LNG ships. Led by Paul Stanney, a Senior Surveyor in Lloyd’s Register EMEA’s Engineering Systems Department, the team helped to ensure that the system met the strict safety and reliability requirements of Lloyd’s Register’s Rules for ships for liquefied gases, which incorporate the International Maritime Organization’s International Gas Carrier Code. The project began in early 2005 and recently concluded with hazard identification (HAZID) workshops at the GE Energy factory in Houston.
According to Christopher Dalston, Commercial Marine Sales Manager for GE Energy in Houston, “GE Energy decided to work with Lloyd’s Register because of our proven experience on previous projects involving safety case studies and risk management. GE Energy is able to leverage its expertise in providing propulsion and onboard power systems to the cruise ship industry to develop a configuration appropriate for LNG carriers. The issuance of an Approval in Principle by Lloyd’s Register as a third-party certification organisation says that we have met the equivalent safety level of those systems in use today.”