Commercial Marine

Rolls-Royce and Robert Allan present the world's first LNG-powered shallow-water push boat

Posted on 16 December 2019

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  • Joint development for environmentally friendly and climate-friendly transportation on inland waterways
  • Classification society DNV GL grants “Approval in Principle” at workboat show in New Orleans

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN/NEW ORLEANS

Rolls-Royce and Canadian vessel designers Robert Allan have developed the world's first shallow-water push boat powered by LNG natural gas engines. At the International Workboat Show in New Orleans, classification society DNV GL gave its “Approval in Principle” to the new design. Powered by two MTU 8V4000M55RN natural gas engines from Rolls-Royce and designed for use on inland waterways, the push boat is more cost-effective to operate, and produces less pollutants and climate-unfriendly exhaust gases than vessels with conventional propulsion systems.

Rolls-Royce and Robert Allan collaborated to design the gas-powered shallow-water push boat based on the proven Robert Allan RApide 2800-Z2 design which is already used on some dieselpowered vessels on the River Amazon. The vessel design was specially modified for LNG to accommodate the two 746 kW MTU 8V4000M55RN engines (complete with IMO Tier III emission control systems) and the entire LNG supply system – also available from Rolls-Royce – as well as the gas control and safety systems and the overall vessel control system.

The hull – externally unchanged – was redesigned to accommodate the 70 cubic meter gas tank as well as the usual engine accoutrements, and to provide crew with a pleasant working environment. The lower crew cabins, saloon and galley were moved up one level, and the deckhouse was enlarged.

The Approval in Principle from DNV GL certifies that the design complies with the classification society's rules for classification of maritime vessels and the international safety regulations for vessels using gas or other low-flashpoint fuels. It is an independent evaluation of the design concept within a given framework and states that the design is fundamentally feasible and there are no fundamental implementation concerns.

LNG (liquefied natural gas) is a fuel now gaining traction in maritime circles, enabling operators to reduce emissions that are harmful to the environment and to the climate. LNG engines produce no particulate whatsoever, emitting significantly less NOx than diesel engines, and are more climate-friendly overall. DNV GL expects natural gas to cover over 40 to 80 % of all vessel propulsion power requirements by 2050. In addition, gas, where available, offers lower running costs.

Stefan Müller, who heads up the Marine & Naval Application Center at Rolls-Royce's Power Systems business unit, sees the use of high-speed, pure gas engines like the MTU Series 4000 as offering great potential in ports, coastal applications and inland transportation. To unlock this potential, a reliable fuel supply infrastructure will be required.

“The interest of the market regarding the design study of Robert Allan and Rolls-Royce confirms that the decision was right to develop a lean-burn gas engine. We have found operators across the globe who have seen the benefits of operational costs in addition to the reduction of environmental impact,” says Christof von Bank, Director of Sales, Marine & Offshore Americas.

Rolls-Royce is shortly to deliver its first MTU 8V 4000 M55N gas engines to municipal works company Stadtwerke Konstanz in southern Germany. These will be used to power the first LNGpowered car ferry on Lake Constance.

Technical data for the RApide 2800-G shallow-water push boat:

Engines: 2 x MTU 8V 4000 M55RN, IMO Tier III
Power output: 746 kW each
Length overall: 28 m
Beam: 10.05 m
Topsides: 3.2 m
Draught: 2.5 m
LNG tank capacity: 70 m3

Press photos are available for download from www.rrpowersystems.com/press

About Rolls-Royce Holdings plc

  1. Rolls-Royce pioneers cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions to meet our planet’s vital power needs.
  2. Rolls-Royce Power Systems is headquartered in Friedrichshafen in southern Germany and employs around 11,000 people. The product portfolio includes MTU-brand high-speed engines and propulsion systems for ships, power generation, heavy land, rail and defence vehicles and for the oil and gas industry as well as diesel and gas systems and battery containers for mission critical, standby and continuous power, combined generation of heat and power, and microgrids. Medium-speed engines from Bergen power ships and power generation applications.
  3. Rolls-Royce has customers in more than 150 countries, comprising more than 400 airlines and leasing customers, 160 armed forces, 70 navies, and more than 5,000 power and nuclear customers.
  4. Annual underlying revenue was £15 billion in 2018, around half of which came from the provision of aftermarket services.
  5. In 2018, Rolls-Royce invested £1.4 billion on research and development. We also support a global network of 29 University Technology Centres, which position Rolls-Royce engineers at the forefront of scientific research.
  6. The Group has a strong commitment to apprentice and graduate recruitment and to further developing employee skills.
Wolfgang Boller Spokesman Regional and Business Media
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