Why the LNG Retrofit Revolution Has Cryospain at Work Across Land and Sea

Asian governments are stepping up LNG bunkering operations for the maritime industry. Credit: Teresa Requena, courtesy of CryospainWhat is it about liquefied natural gas (LNG) for transport that has Cryospain’s teams hard at work across continents and oceans, on existing and brand-new vehicles and all over the world? Within the context of the global challenge of slashing emissions, LNG as fuel is taking a more and more central role: on land, a general shift towards rail for the ever-expanding heavy transport industry is coupled with a mission to make the trains themselves more efficient and environmentally friendly. The European Commission’s 2016 energy security package places gas front and center in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Of course, this means new-build natural gas engines, but it also must consider existing vehicles.

Meanwhile, the demand for LNG bunker­ing infrastructures for shipping has never been so high. This is largely due to the major environ­mental benefits natural gas provides, especially when compared to the emissions that tradi­tional engines produce. LNG truly is the cleaner choice for shipping. What was already a trend is becoming a revolution, thanks to International Maritime Organization’s 2020 regulations that seek to clean coastal air. As a result, LNG in­stallations are spreading fast throughout the world’s seaports.

Retrofits: Why and How? The shift to greener fuels cannot be imagined without taking into account tradi­tionally fueled vehicles currently in operation. Of course, an increasing percentage of new vehicles are being built every year with LNG engines. Cryospain has been involved in the design of brand-new ships that, from concep­tion, have opted for natural gas as a greener fuel choice. However, retrofitting allows for trans­formations that extend life cycles of existing vehicles, making them far more efficient and re­ducing the dual impact of building new vehicles and disposing of old ones. Aside from the many non-financial benefits, such as those elaborated on here, from a purely cost point of view, the initial investment is always quickly absorbed and surpassed by year-on-year savings. In other words, retrofitting is a fast and ultimately cost-effective way to make the essential switch to greener fuels.

These projects require a high level of ex­perience and expertise, as well as truly tailored design. Essentially, a cryoline system must be adapted to a structure not originally intended to house it. In most cases, you are retrofitting ships, trains or other vehicles that are in active operation, making the time variable crucial (the longer the retrofit operation lasts, the longer the vehicle is stopped, and the greater the loss for business relying on it).

Ship retrofits mean adapting cryoline systems to structures not originally intended to house them. Credit: Teresa Requena, courtesy of CryospainWhat Makes LNG Right For Transport? LNG is a cryogenic product that is trans­ported at approximately 160 degrees below zero. This means we can store more in a given space than with CNG (compressed natural gas). LNG represents a smart choice for transport because it is a clean, accessible fuel, which also makes economic sense.

Compared to fuel oil and diesel, LNG reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 20-25%. LNG also eliminates emissions of solid particles in suspen­sion, reduces emissions of nitrogen oxides by at least 80%, and virtually eliminates emissions of nitrogen dioxide and sulfur oxides. Companies all over the world are realizing the importance of making the switch to LNG, and Cryospain has been proud to answer the call in ten projects across eight different countries, like the ones de­tailed below.

Our Experience: Retrofit for the Rail Industry It was our honor to help put our native Spain on the cryogenic and LNG map with a pioneering project to test both the economic and technical feasibility of LNG in the railway sector. The project proved a huge success in validating hopes for LNG as a low-emission en­ergy resource against diesel fuel on non-electri­fied lines. Our team, experts in a vast range of cryogenic systems, drew on their experience to design and install:

• LNG cryogenic tank (LNG requires 600 times less volume than natural gas under normal conditions)

• Vaporizer (necessary for the liquefied gas to be gasified and heated to engine con­sumption temperature)

• Valves

• Generating set of the tender

• Heat production system (boiler)

• Pneumatic production system

• ATEX declassified electrical and control room

• Electrical and control panel

• Compressed gas conditioning systems

Our Experience: Retrofit for the Maritime Industry This example takes us from our native Spain’s land transport network to the distant seaports of Asia. Asian governments are stepping up and endorsing LNG as a marine fuel. South Korea’s government has announced plans to develop LNG bunkering facilities in the country. In 2018, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism announced its support of the country’s first LNG bunker vessels. Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering port, granted subsi­dies to build LNG bunkering infrastructures to its two licensed LNG bunker suppliers.

Our experts travelled to the major port of Shanghai, China, to tackle this retrofit of an exist­ing vessel:

• 50-plus meters of simple cryogenic pipes and 70-plus meters of double-wall cryogenic pipes

• 100-plus meters of double-wall ventilated pipes

• Design and supply of supports between inner and outer cavities of double-wall piping

• 2D and 3D design of the installation

• Fatigue study with finite element analysis programs

• Non-destructive test of all welding

• DNV approval of the manufacturing and testing

Cryogenics: Making the Vital Switch to Greener Fuels Possible Cryospain has long been a champion of low-emission fuels to replace the traditional diesel and fuel-oil engines. Our hard work to achieve the goal of zero greenhouse emissions will continue. We know that more environmentally friendly transport options are possible and take great pride in the cryogenics industry’s pioneering role in the LNG revolution.

Image 1: Asian governments are stepping up LNG bunkering operations for the maritime industry. Credit: Teresa Requena, courtesy of Cryospain

Image 2: Ship retrofits mean adapting cryoline systems to structures not originally intended to house them. Credit: Teresa Requena, courtesy of Cryospain



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