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Shipping Maritime Industry News 

Forward Ships Wins Patent in South Korea

Forward Ships, established as part of the Project Forward that promotes the adoption of LNG as fuel, has won its first official patent right from South Korea.


The project, led by Athens-Based Arista Shipping, advocates that with LNG as fuel, an advanced hull design, and highly efficient propulsion machinery, it will be possible to meet the IMO’s target for a 40 percent reduction in carbon intensity by 2030.

The patent relates to Forward Ships’ innovative machinery arrangement, which consists of two low-pressure, four-stroke Wärtsilä 31Dual Fuel main engines and two PTO/PTIs, coupled on one shaft that drives a CPP propeller.

“This arrangement doubles the propulsion redundancy, quadruples the power-generating redundancy, and provides safe return to port, setting a new standard and lowering operating expenses,” Foward Ships said.

“This arrangement allows for an improvement in the streamlining of the aft part, the percentage of which is not taken into account in the consumption tables. Further, the positioning of the engines above gearbox centreline allows for additional hull lines’ optimization.”

 “The efficient propulsion design concept for Forward Ships is based on a novel arrangement featuring just two highly efficient Wärtsilä 31DF engines without auxiliary gensets. The project is totally in line with Wärtsilä’s Smart Marine vision that foresees an era of concept solutions delivering optimal efficiency, safety, and environmental sustainability,” says Johnny Kackur, General Manager, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions.

The initiative has seen Forward Maritime, part of Arista Shipping Group, ink a letter of intent with the Chinese Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipbuilding for the construction of up to twenty LNG-fueled Kamsaraxes set for delivery by 2023. The ships are designed to reduce the cost of transportation at sea and define a new standard of vessel for IMO’s 2020 emission rules and beyond. The vessel is fitted with an LNG tank positioned midships.

Related: LNG as Fuel Perfect Bridge until 2050

According to the results of model tests of the project’s concept vessel, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), a measure of carbon intesnsity which reflects the CO2 emissions per transport work, is well below the currently most stringent Phase III level, Forward Ships said. The Phase III level signifies a 30 percent reduction from the 2008 reference level and is applicable to ships built after 2025.

As explained, the advanced engine technology can also help meet further reduction in CO2 emissions per transport work of up to 70 percent, without lowering service speeds through the use of carbon neutral fuels mixed with LNG. Such carbon neutral fuels can be transported, stored, and consumed in a similar way to that of fossil LNG.

“Through the advanced engine technology available today, LNG has a clearly superior well-to-wake emissions profile compared to liquid fuel. LNG appears not as a transition fuel, but the fuel of tomorrow and for many years to come,” says Antonis Trakakis, Technical Director at Arista and Chief Technology Officer of Forward Ships.

The concept vessel’s hull form has been optimized in cooperation with Finnish ship designer Deltamarin and classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). Finish tech company Wärtsilä and the French LNG membrane containment system designer GTT are also involved in the project.

Fuel Cells Tested for First-Ever Hydrogen Hybrid Ferry Conversion

ABB and the SINTEF Ocean laboratory in Trondheim will assess how fuel cells and batteries can best function together for short-distance ferry operations, and how Fiskerstrand can integrate them with other engine room systems. The tests will also provide insight into the introduction of hydrogen fuel cells for future reviews of the rules covering shipboard use of hydrogen.


The tests will simulate the conditions the ferry is expected to encounter on a high frequency 10km route to ensure that the propulsion systems including fuel cells are robust enough for repetitive, short-burst service duties.

“We expect to get a realistic view of what we need to do to achieve our objectives in delivering a ferry equipped with hydrogen fuel cell propulsion as part of ourHYBRIDship project,” says Kåre Nerem,


Project Manager, Fiskerstrand. “ABB’s system integration know-how, combined with SINTEF Ocean’s long-standing experience in the field of marine propulsion systems, as well as SINTEF Industry’s expertise in fuel cells technology will be key in solving the challenges ahead. This is a pioneering project, and together we will ensure the solution is optimized for the specific ferry route and vessel.”

The HYBRIDshipproject, started in 2017 and driven by Fiskerstrand Holding, is supported by Norway’s “Pilot-E” technology accelerator program funded by the Research Council of Norway, Innovation Norway and Enova Norwegian government enterprise. The project is envisaging a zero-emissions passenger ship retrofitted with fuel cells operating on a domestic route by the end of 2020.

“The project is a major step towards the practical use of the hydrogen fuel cell as a maritime propulsion technology,” says Jostein Bogen, product manager for energy storage and fuel cells at ABB Marine & Ports. “Fuel cells combined with batteries are an important part of ABB’s ‘Electric. Digital. Connected.’ vision for a sustainable maritime future. The true significance of these tests will be in defining the optimum engine room configuration for hydrogen fuel cells to be installed and work day-in, day-out with other systems onboard.”

ABB first invested in SINTEF Ocean’s hybrid marine laboratory in 2014, recently strengthening its collaborative commitment by injecting a second round of funding to expand the laboratory’s facilities for future development work.


“Together with the Norwegian Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Test Centrehosted by SINTEF Industry, the extended hybrid lab will help us to further develop, validate and optimize control strategies for advanced maritime energy system” says Anders Valland, Research manager for maritime energy systems at SINTEF Ocean.

“These facilities have become an important catalyst for the ongoing evolution of hydrogen-based power generation,” comments Bogen.


“The ability to carry out real-life testing of different configurations accelerates the development process and ensures we arrive at an optimized solution that satisfies vessel design criteria and operational profile.”  

Hydrogen fuel cells are regarded as a promising option for radically reducing vessel greenhouse gas emissions. Combined with more established shipboard battery technology, they have the capability to enhance energy density in zero-emission marine operations while also improving vessel endurance.

The joint ABB/SINTEF development program will also focus on finding solutions to support the hydrogen supply and bunkering infrastructure. In addition, outputs from the new tests are expected to accelerate Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) work in modifying regulations to better accommodate and approve hydrogen as a fuel.


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