Bureau Veritas announced it was classing the first ethane-powered vessels. JS Ineos Insight is the Number One in a series of eight multi-gas 27,500-cubic-meter Dragon-class ships being built for Denmark’s Evergas at Sinopacific, China. The ship is configured for transporting LPG, LNG or ethane with options for LNG, ethane and conventional diesel power.
According to Martial Claudepierre, Bureau Veritas' business development manager, the ability to burn LNG and ethane to power these vessels was "a major step forward in the use of clean fuels". He added they had worked with the Danish Maritime Authority and Evergas to ensure that the use of ethane was at least as safe as required by IGC and would not impair engine compliance with MARPOL Annex VI.
Dragon vessels were designed originally with dual-fuel LNG and diesel power utilizing two LNG tanks of 1,000 cubic meters powering two main engines Wärtsilä 6L20 DF with total power of 2,112 kW and two shaft generators with total power of 3,600 kW. The ability to burn ethane was added in order to allow use of cargo gas as the ships were initially destined to transport ethane to the UK Ineos refineries from the U.S.
Claudepierre also shared that using ethane required additional gas detection and extra engine room ventilation, plus modifications to main engines including different turbocharger nozzles, lower compression ratio, and de-rating of the main engine to cope with lower knocking resistance of ethane. The gains in not carrying additional fuel, as well as in environmental performance from burning clean fuel throughout the sailing were significant.
Evergas is a Danish company founded in 1883. It is involved in seaborne transportation of petrochemical gas as the focus is on ethylene and ethane. The company operates a fleet of petrochemical gas carriers and has a new-building program of LNG, ethylene and ethane multi-gas carriers.