Delft Students Develop Double-Ended, Dual-Fuel Arctic Supply Vessel Concept

Image credit: Damen
Image credit: Damen

A group of students minoring in Arctic Engineering at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have teamed up with Damen Shipyards and others on the design of a new Arctic vessel concept that it as unique as it is innovative.

The concept design, which has come to be known as the Damen AMTSV (Arctic Modular Towing Supply Vessel), is the brainchild of five students studying for a bachelors degree with a minor in Arctic Engineering at Delft, as well as input from industry representatives including Damen, DNV, Dutch hydrodynamics and nautical research institute Marin, and Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland.

The project was part of a special program at Delft University of Technology that offers students the ability to chose and organize their own minor. In this case, the students -Reiner Bos, John Huisman, Martijn Obers, Tobias Schaap and Max van der Zalm- chose arctic shipbuilding.

The goal of the group’s final project: to design a new Arctic Offshore Support Vessel by combining the skills of all partners into a complete view on shipbuilding, from design to delivery.

The project itself contained three parts. First, a comprehensive study was carried out to get an overview of the environment, the market and the geography in the Arctic and to create an operational profile for the vessel. Second, a comparison study was held testing three existing Damen vessels on their Arctic capabilities. The third stage consisted of a ship design, combining the experiences of the team into one innovative concept.

What resulted was a 100m, dual-fuel and double acting arctic supply ship capable of operating in 1.6m of ice at a speed of 3 knots.

Arctic Modular Towing Supply Vessel concept II
Image credit: Damen

Two bows

The Arctic Modular Towing Supply Vessel (AMTSV) comes equipped with two bows; one for when she sails through open water and one for sailing through ice. When in open water, she will sail with her accommodation first. When in ice, however, she will sail with her thrusters first. The ‘stern first’ concept is not new in arctic shipping, although in this case it’s a veritable ‘double-bow’ since it is incorporated in the structural lay-out of the ship.

The research showed this to be the best solution because the shape of an ice bow is completely different than one for open water. When using two bows, the group says, no compromises have to be made. Another argument for this concept is that, while sailing through ice, the thrusters will create a flow around the hull which decreases friction.

Because the vessel can sail in both directions, she also has to be capable of towing in both directions, hence a double acting 300 ton winch. To protect the winch from harsh weather, it is installed inside the accommodation.

No compromises on crew conditions are made by allowing the crew to work in the Enclosed Superstructure (ESS) located behind the conventional superstructure. The area can be kept relatively warm even with an outside temperature down -55 degrees. The ESS is not only useful for the crew, but temperature sensitive cargo can also be kept in the area.

External LNG storage

The AMTSV concept comes equipped dual-fuel engines running on Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) for increased efficiency. To combat storage issues, the group decided to put LNG tanks on top of the ESS.

All in all the project is a fine example that the motivation of students, supported by open-minded universities and the partnering companies, can potentially lead to the creation of a substantial and innovative products. For its part, Damen says it will incorporate their research into its own, ongoing Arctic research program.