2014 in Review: LNG Engines at HHI

By MarEx 2014-12-08 03:35:00

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the world’s largest shipbuilder and engine maker based in Korea, is proving itself an early adapter to the accelerating trends in the shipping industry towards the use of LNG as fuel. Holding proprietary technology in the LNG-fuelled ships, HHI provides total solutions with a package of its dual fuel engines and LNG fuel supply system. 

According to IMO regulations, all vessels navigating in the emission control areas (ECA) are required to use fuel with a sulfur-content of less than 0.1 percent starting from January 1, 2015. With the shale gas revolution, LNG is becoming an increasingly attractive solution in both economic and environmental respects, pushing aside expensive marine diesel oil (MDO) and marine gas oil (MGO). In view of such global market trend, HHI swiftly shifted its R&D efforts into high gear a few years ago.

On March 23, 2010, HHI entered into a joint technology development agreement with MAN Diesel & Turbo (MDT), Denmark’s 2-stroke engine designer, to convert 4T50ME-X, a test engine at their R&D center, into 4T50ME-GI dual fuel engine. A year-long intense collaboration resulted in successful completion and trial run of the 4T50ME-GI engine at MDT’s R&D center on May 8, 2011. However, faced with lukewarm response from the market, HHI signed another agreement with MDT on May 8, 2011 to build another ME-GI engine and operate it at the factory of HHI.

The result of this collaboration is 8S70ME-C8.2-GI engine and HHI went on to develop its own LNG fuel supply system called “Hi-GAS” system, added it to its manufacturing facilities and executed LNG bunkering for fuel use on October 11, 2012 – for the first time as an engine maker in the world. HHI applied its own patented technology in building the Hi-GAS system and the company received its patent on the technology, three months ahead of its competitors, acquiring proprietary technology in this field.

On November 9, 2012, HHI successfully completed a trial run for the Hi-GAS system by operating it as a package with 8S70ME-C8.2-GI and HiMSEN 8H35DF generator that HHI independently developed and tested in the presence of over 300 representatives from its clients. The successful result of the test was soon followed by actual orders to install ME-GI engines on the world’s first LNG-fuelled ships: 3,100 TEU containerships owned by TOTE and 173 m3 LNG carriers for Teekay.

Traditionally, LNG carriers have been equipped with dual fuel diesel electric (DFDE) propulsion system with Wartzila’s 50DF. However, the adoption of the ME-GI engine as the main engine has enabled the application of a variety of LNG cargo handling and fuel supply systems.
Following the development of the Hi-GAS system, HHI then set out to carry out extensive research into re-liquefaction technology. As a result of these efforts, HHI succeeded in independently developing an efficient and cost-effective BOG re-liquefaction system, which condenses BOG (boil-off gas) from LNG cargo tanks and burns it for fuel and then re-liquefy the surplus gas by recovering heat through the use of BOG cold energy and passing it through Joule-Thomson valves. HHI filed a patent application to the Korean Patent Office on May 29, 2013. The patent for the technology was registered on July 17, 2013 and an amended patent was also registered on March 26, 2014. 

HHI has incorporated its re-liquefaction technology in a product called Hi-ERS (Hyundai innovative Economical Re-liquefaction). It is a highly innovative system which enables partial re-liquefaction of BOG without using N2 refrigeration system, giving HHI an edge over its competitors through reduced initial investment cost, its smaller area for system installation and low power consumption.

On October 29, 2014, HHI carried out HAZOP (Hazard and Operability) study on Hi-ERS in conjunction with DNV-GL and received an AIP (Approval in Principle) certificate on the product in recognition for its safe design and excellent operability.

HHI has received patents from patent-granting authorities both at home and abroad on 200 some products related to LNG fuel supply and re-liquefaction, earning recognition for its high level of technology in many of its patents.

HHI takes pride in the fact that, as the world’s largest shipbuilder and engine maker, it has adapted to the shifting market trends toward LNG-fuelled ships and engines, based on its expertise and experience, faster than its competitors and are already carving out new markets on the strength of such advanced technologies. The biggest advantage of HHI is that it provides total solution with a package of its dual-fuel engines and LNG fuel supply system and as such, its product warranty system is much simpler than its competitors’. 

HHI will continue to meet its clients’ needs with best quality LNG carriers and LNG-fuelled vessels through relentless efforts towards technological development and enhanced cost competitiveness.