First time in history: cruise ship receives power from an LNG barge

By ,   June 1, 2015 ,   Cruise Industry

For the first time in passenger shipping history, a cruise ship received environmentally friendly power supplied by an LNG hybrid barge.

Hummel, Becker Marine Systems' barge, provided 7.5 megawatts of low-emission power to AIDAsol during ship's layover in Hamburg on May 30 (Saturday).

The managing director of Becker Marine Systems, Henning Kuhlmann, told the media that with such a successful premiere, Port of Hamburg was serving as "a global role model". Credit was also due to their partner AIDA Cruises, deeply involved in the technically challenging project.

Only a few other vessels have been able, up until now, to receive power from a barge of the kind, but they have always been specialised in doing so. Kuhlmann added that to improve air quality at port cities, modern seagoing vessels should all be able to do that in future.

The 76.7-meter long and 11.4-meter wide barge Hummel has been constructed by the Hamburg-based Becker Marine Systems and serves as a floating power plant to generate power via a gas container stuffed with 15 tons of LNG (liquefied natural gas).

In the gas processing plant, cryogenic liquid is heated and passed on to 5 gas Caterpillar motors, which produce electricity. In comparison with the conventional marine diesel electric engines, featuring 0.1% sulfur content, this barge emits no sulfur dioxides.

Nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide emissions are also reduced. Therefore it is deemed the cleanest option to provide shoreside electrical power to ships.

Becker Marine Systems company is planning to extend its operations by offering the LNG technology to container carriers, tankers and bulkers, as well as in port.

AIDAprima is the 1st cruise ship in the world to feature a dual fuel engine, as well as both a comprehensive system for exhaust after-treatment and shore power connection. The first of the new generation vessels of AIDA will be homeported in Hamburg in 2016 spring. 

Depending on availability, the ship may be operated on LNG fuel. A recent study by Hong Kong authorities estimated that only 35 international cruise vessels (16% of the global fleet), are to be equipped for using LNG shore power.