Davie delivers first LNG-powered ferry built in North America

Mv Armand Imbeau Ii Davie 768x431

The following is text of a news release from Chantier Davie Canada:

(LEVIS, Quebec) — On July 25, Davie Shipbuilding announced the delivery of the first LNG-powered ferry to be built in North America. This pioneering ferry can be powered entirely by liquefied natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel known to mankind.

Delivering this prototype has taken years of work by Davie, the designers and the classification society, who have had to develop construction and operations rules and regulations during the construction in order to cater for this new type of propulsion system.

“It would have been easy to build a normal, diesel-powered ferry but instead Quebec decided to pave the way in setting a new environmental standard for the entire continent," said James Davies, president of Davie. "We inherited this project when we acquired the shipyard in 2012. With the project already at a mature concept stage when we arrived, we received a specification from the client (ferry operator Societe des Traversiers du Quebec) of more than 400 pages long and we immediately set to work on solving the puzzle that had been created. One thing is for sure – we couldn’t have done this without Premier (Philippe) Couillard and his government for their cooperation and sheer determination to make Quebec a shipbuilding industry leader and a province at the forefront of green marine technologies. While a handful of these new LNG-powered ferries have been built in Europe, they have often been fraught with problems after they entered service. We are very proud to have delivered the highest quality product which has now passed all testing with flying colors and we have done it at an internationally competitive price.”

“The combination of an entirely new green technology and a client who hadn’t built new ships in decades created a unique challenge for this project," said Alex Vicefield, CEO of Inocea. "Having integrated LNG propulsion into this ice-class ferry, we will now be looking at how LNG can power other classes of icebreakers – ships which operate in some of the most sensitive ecosystems on the planet. For ferries, we also want to explore the potential for installing fully electrical propulsion systems. In Quebec, where we have a surplus of hydroelectric power and with recent advances in ‘wireless’ or induction charging and battery technology, this would make a lot of sense. Being the first mover in any new technology is never going to be cheap, but the potential that these new environmentally-friendly technologies have is enormous. This is what will power the future and we intend for Davie to remain at the forefront of it. We owe Premier Couillard and his government a debt of gratitude for having confidence in us to deliver this program and at the same time develop Davie into a world-class builder of high ice-class vessels and ferries.”

“From the outside, this ship looks like any other ferry but from the inside, it is of a similar level of complexity to a space shuttle," said Ron Pearson, Davie’s vice president of engineering. "It is a densely packed, highly integrated and complex product. This ferry has more systems and automation onboard than an offshore drilling platform or a modern warship. It is truly a technological marvel – the cryogenic processes involved in managing this highly volatile fuel, while also creating a vessel which is safe to carry passengers, has been a huge challenge. Integrating all of these systems into such a confined space was even more challenging and one we are very proud to have overcome.”

Since 2014, Davie has delivered three major vessels, all of which set a new standard for the industries in which they will operate. In 2014, Davie delivered M/V Pride, a subsea construction vessel used to perform works at more than 3,000 meters below the sea surface. It was the most complex commercial vessel ever built in North America. Earlier this year, Davie launched M/V Asterix, the largest naval vessel ever to be delivered from a Canadian shipyard.

M/V Armand Imbeau II facts:
• Able to operate entirely using liquefied natural gas
• Icebreaking capability, able to operate year-round on the St. Lawrence River
• Over 150,000 meters of cable installed on board
• A key indicator of complexity: Over 6,800 inputs/outputs into the main automation system (versus 3,500 for a naval and roughly 6,000 for a semi-submersible offshore drilling rig)
• Highly automated for use by a smaller crew
• Fully automated safety shutdown systems for gas safety, more comprehensive than an offshore drilling platform

LNG facts:
• The combustion of LNG does not emit soot, dust or fumes
• LNG emits 90 percent less nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions than conventional diesel
• LNG emits 100 percent less sulfur (SO2) and fine particle emissions

By Professional Mariner Staff