Damen EcoLiner – Europe’s Greenest Inland Vessel Launched in Romania

Damen EcoLiner. Photo courtesy Damne Shipyards Group
Damen EcoLiner. Photo courtesy Damne Shipyards Group

Damen Shipyards Group has launched the first LNG-powered inland shipping tanker at its Romanian yard.

The 3,040 m3 capacity tanker, known as the Damen EcoLiner, features a number of innovations that combine to improve fuel economy while at the same time cutting emissions, making it Europe’s greenest inland vessel.

The EcoLiner design combines the world’s first installations of the ACES Air-Lubricated Hull, a gas-electrical shaft propulsion system and one of the first Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel installations, leading to reduced fuel costs by up to 25%, according to Damen.

The project was co-financed by European Union through the Trans-European Transport Network Programme, contributing more than €1.1 million as part of the project “LNG Masterplan for Rhine-Main-Danube”.

Damen recently completed comprehensive tank testing of the new design at research institute MARIN, confirming the EcoLiner’s efficiency.

“After successfully testing at MARIN, we can now complete the build in the Netherlands and we’re talking with a number of interested parties. Fuel accounts for a very large proportion of inland shipping costs, so if operators can save 20% or more, that generates a lot of interest.

“Every part of the EcoLiner has been designed to reduce fuel consumption,” Provoost continues. “That, combined with low-emission LNG instead of marine diesel, makes the EcoLiner easily the greenest inland shipping vessel in Europe. It’s increasingly important for owners and clients to demonstrate sustainable operations and prepare for future ‘green corridors’ subject to inland emissions regulations.”

Innovations on board the EcoLiner include the ACES air lubrication, which has demonstrated 15% fuel savings; combination gas-electric propulsion with low-maintenance shaft propulsion configuration; clean LNG fuel that dramatically reduces CO2, SOX, NOX and particulate emissions; a power management system for 4 x LNG fueled generator sets ensures optimum engine loads and reduced fuel consumption upstream and downstream; retractable Van der Velden® FLEX tunnels for reduced resistance, making it possible to install larger, high efficiency ducted propellers; and a optional waste heat recovery system to heat or cool cargo and accommodation

The EcoLiner project is managed by Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld in the Netherlands. The first EcoLiner will be delivered as a 110-meter long tanker, but its modular design can be built to transport any commodity, including containers and dry bulk.

Although the hull is being built in Romania, installation and outfitting of all main systems, including all generator-gas engines, power management, propulsion and steering gear, will take place in the Netherlands.

The vessel is Bureau Veritas-classed and delivery is scheduled in the summer of 2015.

The LNG Masterplan aims to promote LNG as a fuel and cargo for the inland navigation industry and formulates and enforces the necessary safety regulations for the use and transport of LNG. The Masterplan has received over €40 million in EU support and is implemented by a consortium of 33 public and private sector companies and organizations across twelve European Member States.

The EcoLiner’s gas-powered design has been approved by Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ADN-UNECE), meaning the vessel can travel on all international inland waterways.

Van der Velden® FLEX TUNNEL

ACES Air Lubrication