With the cat now out of the bag on CMA CGM’s plan to use cleaner-burning liquefied natural gas to power its nine record-setting 22,000 “mega” containerships, we’re now learning more about the mammoth engines that will be used to power what are currently the largest containerships ever ordered.
On Monday, Switzerland-based Winterthur Gas & Diesel Ltd (WinGD) revealed it has been chosen to supply the 12-cylinder, 92 cm bore, dual-fuel low-speed main engines (12X92DF) that will power the ships.
The 12X92DF engines will be rated to 63,840 kW at 80 rpm, making them the most powerful gas and dual-fuel engines ever built, according to WinGD.
CMA CGM’s decision to use LNG fuel comes ahead of upcoming global regulations aimed at reducing the maximum sulphur content of maritime fuel from 3.5% to 0.5% by 2020.
The company signed shipbuilding contracts with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) Group for the nine record-breaking ships in September. The vessels will be constructed at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group), Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, and China Shipbuilding Trading Co. (CSTC), and are due to enter service in 2020 on routes between Asia and Europe.
CMA CGM says that by using LNG fuel over standard heavy fuel oil, the ships will emit up to 25% less CO2 and will nearly eliminate nearly all sulphur and fine particle matter, along with reducing nitrogen oxides emissions by about 85%. Moreover, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), which measures a ship’s environmental footprint, is improved by 20% compared to ships powered exclusively by fuel oil.
“Given the low NOx emissions of dual-fuel engines using lean burn combustion and the extremely low sulphur content of natural gas, by choosing our X-DF engines and LNG, CMA CGM is automatically complying with all existing and future emissions regulations,” says Volkmar Galke, General Manager of Sales at WinGD.
Specifically, by using LNG fuel, the vessels will already meet regulations imposed by the IMO Tier III emission standards and the 0.5% limit on sulphur in bunker fuel, which will be introduced in 2020, as well as possible limits on particulates.
“The built-in efficiency of our lean-burn dual-fuel engines is also complemented by the favorable ratio of carbon-to-hydrogen in methane – the main constituent of natural gas – which mean that our X-DF engines are already low emitters of CO2 compared to liquid fuelled engines,” added Galke. “Our X-DF engines are thus an excellent starting point for playing a full part in achieving the 30% improvement in overall vessel efficiency up to 2025 specified by the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI).”