Titan LNG develops new tank concept for bunkering barges

Dutch supplier Titan LNG said it has developed a new tank concept for liquefied natural gas bunkering barges.

Titan is working on a large fleet of LNG bunkering vessels and besides chartered ships, it already operates the bunkering barges FlexFueler 001 and 002.

The firm is also working on its planned 8,000 cbm vessel, Titan LNG Hyperion.

Single tank structure

Titan developed the FlexFueler concept in-house, the first generation of LNG bunker assets tailor-made for the Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam area.

Through concept development and operation of these barges, Titan says it has gained a “lot of experience” with the European Inland Waterway (IWW) regulations, specifically their impact on LNG storage and handling systems.

Continued market growth and the higher tank capacity of the global fleet of LNG-fueled vessels is leading to more and larger IWW-dedicated bunker barges and poses a challenge to comply with these rules. This includes a tank capacity limit of 1,000 cbm per tank onboard bunkering barges.

Titan LNG develops new tank concept for bunkering barges
Image: Titan LNG

As a consequence, Titan says it has devised a way to meet this safety criteria by introducing the principle of multiple 1000 cbm internal tank partitions into a single tank structure.

This means that more LNG can fit into a single tank structure. Also, the tanks take up less space, thus reducing the total footprint of the vessel while maintaining the cargo capacity, according to Titan.

“The internal partitions maintain their individual structural integrity in case of tank damage to a single partition. This solution has been patented as well as technically validated for one of the more challenging types of pressure vessel; a bilobe tank,” Titan said.

Reducing size

Titan’s fleet development director Douwe de Jong said that innovations like this would become increasingly important to efficiently meet demand and effectively scale up supply infrastructure as more LNG and LBM fueled vessels join the global fleet.

“By investing in the in-house development of its fleet, Titan LNG has managed to introduce the economies of scale associated with large LNG tanks found in seagoing vessels into IWW gas carrier vessel design,“ he said.

Titan investigated the design impact within the company’s Hyperion IWW bunker vessel design series.

At a total capacity of 8,000 cbm, Titan said it has reduced the vessel’s length and breadth by 10-20 percent, compared to the individual tank approach.

In addition, fuel consumption, steel weight, outfitting costs and overall environmental impact of constructing and operating the vessel were reduced by similar percentages.

The larger tank size also opened the possibility of using lighter and cheaper foam-insulated tanks instead of the vacuum-insulated pressure tanks that are more common in the less than 1,000 cbm tank size range.

Titan also found that the resulting vessel lay-out and dimensions could work as both a seagoing and inland vessel.

As a result, the Hyperion series currently features both seagoing and inland design versions, making it ready for the next decade and beyond, the firm said.

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