Rolls-Royce powers the world’s longest journey by LNG at sea


(LONDON) — A Rolls-Royce pure-gas engine has propelled Nor Lines’ Kvitbjørn into the history books by becoming the world’s first vessel to operate between Asia and Europe solely on liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the ship’s bunker fuel. Kvitbjørn’s naming ceremony in Stavanger celebrates Nor Lines’ 5,000 dwt short sea cargo vessel, built to Rolls-Royce’s award-winning Environship concept.

The ship sailed to Norway from Tsuji Heavy Industries shipyard in Jiangsu, China, via Singapore, and subsequently LNG bunkerings in Cochin, India and Cartagena, Spain. This was the longest voyage ever undertaken by a vessel running solely on LNG and was completed in Bergen on March 29.

Tor Arne Borge, Nor Lines CEO, said: “The success of the voyage from Asia to Europe on LNG not only confirms the energy-saving and emissions-reduction attributes of Rolls-Royce’s pure gas engine but provides evidence to owners of larger tonnage that LNG is not just for short sea coastal ships. The Environship concept with the Bergen engine has exceeded all our expectations.”

The Environship, which can be adapted for different ship types, incorporates a range of  Rolls-Royce technologies to deliver efficiency savings for shipowners. These include a Bergen engine powered by LNG, the Promas combined rudder and propeller, a hybrid shaft generator to optimize use of electrical power and an innovative wave-piercing hull design. The combined technologies that make the Environship concept reduces CO2 emissions by up to 40 percent compared to similar diesel powered vessels, dependent on operational profile.

Oscar Kallerdahl, Rolls-Royce sales manager, LNG Systems, said: “The realization of Kvitbjørn is a significant milestone in the shipping industry’s fundamental transition from diesel fuel to LNG. It is important to note that the Bergen B35:40 gas engine is not a dual-fuel engine. A pure gas engine and shaft generator driving a controllable pitch propeller is the most effective configuration for keeping emissions low and improving fuel consumption.”

This arrangement is coupled with a hybrid shaft generator for electric power take in (PTI) which ensures flexibility and redundancy of the system when needed. John Knudsen, Rolls-Royce president, Commercial Marine, said: “We congratulate Nor Lines on the delivery of Kvitbjørn, and wish the company every success in their future steps toward a greener shipping industry. The success of this historic delivery voyage will give encouragement to those customers looking to embrace more environmentally friendly ship designs and technology.” 

Kvitbjørn is about to enter operation delivering cargo in ports between Hamburg, the Netherlands and  the Norwegian mainland’s most northern city, Hammerfest. Nor Lines expects to take delivery of sister ship Kvitnos in June.

By Professional Mariner Staff