Tokyo, Japan-based shipping and logistics giant Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” LINE) has signed a long-term consecutive voyage charter with steel manufacturer JFE Steel Corporation for a new 210,000 deadweight bulker fuelled by liquefied natural gas.
LNG is a much cleaner fuel than heavy fuel oil. LNG combustion produces about 25% to 30% less carbon dioxide emissions, almost no sulphur oxide emissions, and about 85% less nitrous oxide emissions.
Natural gas is a gas at standard pressure and room temperature, which is comprised 85% to 95% of the compound gas methane (one atom of carbon and four of hydrogen) along with other gases, such as ethane, propane, carbon dioxide, butane, nitrogen and hydrogen sulphide.
At liquefaction, the natural gas is purified so that only methane remains, and the gas is then cooled in a multi-stage process to minus 160 degrees Celsius. Cooling causes the methane to shrink by a factor of over 600 times. A beach-ball volume of natural gas would shrink to about the size of a ping-pong ball when liquefied, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
“K” Line will also install an Airseas-developed “Seawing” automated kite system, which can provide wind propulsion assistance. The system collects and monitors real time weather and ocean data. Under favourable conditions, the kite can be deployed to take advantage of the wind. The kite is mounted on the bow of the vessel and is said to be simple to deploy or recover. Trials by “K” Line have demonstrated potential carbon emission reductions of up to 5,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
The new ship will be built by Tokyo-headquartered Nihon Shipyard and it is scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2024. It will have a length overall of 300 metres, a breadth of 50 metres, a draught of 18.4 metres and will have a cargo capacity of 210,000 deadweight and a gross tonnage of 110,800 tons.
Major metals producer JFE, which manufactured about 23.96 million tonnes of steel in the fiscal year ended March 2021, is shifting to LNG-powered cargo transport to reduce green house gases. It also plans to consider using other kinds of zero-emissions vessels such as ammonia and carbon-recycled methane.
“K” line is a member of Shipping Australia.