First of Three LNG Battery Hybrid Car Carriers Launched for UECC

hybrid LNG battery power car carrier
Launch of the new LNG battery hybrid PCTC (UECC)

Published Apr 15, 2021 5:24 PM by The Maritime Executive

In another step toward achieving sustainable shipping, the first of three LNG battery hybrid vehicle transport vessels was launched at a shipyard in China. In addition to their dual-fuel power plants, the vessels are fitted with a hybrid battery power system that will enable United European Car Carriers (UECC) to far exceed the IMO’s target of 40 percent reduction in carbon intensity by 2030.

Each of the three vessels, which are being built for UECC at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, will have a length of 554 feet and a beam of 92 feet. The new pure car truck carriers (PCTC) are highly flexible with a car carrying capacity of 3,600 units on 10 cargo decks, and the ability to accommodate a wide range of high and heavy and break-bulk cargoes, in addition to cars and trucks. The vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2021 and 2022 and will operate on UECC’s short-sea shipping routes in Europe.

“With the launch of our first LNG battery hybrid PCTC, we are ushering in a new era for UECC and short sea shipping in Europe,” said Glenn Edvardsen, CEO of UECC. “These ships prove that decarbonization of the industry is possible using currently available technologies.”

The new PCTCs are being built to the latest energy efficiency criteria, meeting the Tier 3 IMO NOx emission limitations in place for the Baltic and the North Sea.  All three will be equipped with battery hybrid solutions that will improve operational efficiency and further reduce emissions through peak shaving, in addition to handling partial accommodation load and driving auxiliary equipment.

“The introduction of batteries is an excellent demonstration of our deepening commitment to next-generation sustainability,” said Edvardsen. “Battery power also provides an option for reducing emissions while in port, a feature that more and more cities are demanding.”

The ships are also equipped with dual-fuel LNG engines for main propulsion and auxiliaries. As more biofuels are set to become commercially available in the future, UECC plans to increase the proportion of carbon-neutral and synthetic fuels in their fuel mix. "We aim to be in front of the move to sustainability in shipping," said Edvardsen. “This is the motivation behind our decision to invest in dual-fuel solutions for these newbuildings.”

UECC, a joint venture between NYK and Wallenius Lines, operates a fleet of 16 medium-sized pure car and truck carriers on European short-sea routes. The company is pursuing sustainability efforts across its operations, including in 201g, the company took delivery on two of the world’s largest dual-fuel LNG PCTCs capable of operating with LNG fuel or heavy fuel oil as well as marine gas oil. 

In March 2020, UECC started operating another of its vessels, the 20-year-old, 6,500dwt car carrier Autosky on biofuel on its short-sea hops around Europe transporting a capacity of up to 2,080 vehicles. The company reported at the end of the first of its operations on biofuel that the vessel had dramatically reduced its CO2 emissions with no technical modifications helping UECC to dramatically cut its carbon intensity.