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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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EcoLiner slashes bunker costs by 'up to 25%'

Damen claims ship is 'easily the greenest inland shipping vessel in Europe'.

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Updated on 09 Mar 2015 10:40 GMT

Last month, Netherlands-headquartered Damen Shipyards Group launched the first LNG-powered Damen EcoLiner inland shipping tanker at its Romanian yard. The EcoLiner has been developed to deliver fuel economy for inland shipping operators whilst at the same time cutting emissions.

According to Damen, the EcoLiner design combines conventional, proven engineering with sustainable innovations, including the world's first installations of the ACES air-lubricated hull, a gas-electrical shaft propulsion system and one of the first Van der Velden FLEX Tunnel installations. The vessel is said to reduce fuel costs by up to 25 percent.

The European Union co-finances the project via the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Programme with more than €1.1 million as part of the LNG Masterplan for Rhine-Main-Danube project.

Damen recently completed tank testing of the new design at research institute MARIN, which confirmed the EcoLiner's efficiency.

In a statement, Simon Provoost, Product Director Inland Waterway Transport at Damen Shipyards, said testing how the design combined multiple innovations was "very important" so that Damen could offer the 3,040-cubic-metre-capacity EcoLiner to the market with utmost confidence.

Provoost added: "After successfully testing at MARIN, we can now complete the build in the Netherlands and we're talking with a number of interested parties. Fuel accounts for a very large proportion of inland shipping costs, so if operators can save 20 percent or more, that generates a lot of interest.

"Every part of the EcoLiner has been designed to reduce fuel consumption. That, combined with low-emission LNG instead of marine diesel, makes the EcoLiner easily the greenest inland shipping vessel in Europe. It's increasingly important for owners and clients to demonstrate sustainable operations and prepare for future 'green corridors' subject to inland emissions regulations."

According to Damen, the EcoLiner's main features are:

- ACES air lubrication has demonstrated 15 percent fuel savings.

- First to combine gas-electric propulsion with low-maintenance shaft propulsion configuration.

- Clean LNG fuel dramatically reduces CO2, SOX, NOX and particulate emissions.

- Power management system for 4 x LNG-fuelled generator sets ensures optimum engine loads and reduced fuel consumption upstream and downstream.

- Retractable Van der Velden FLEX tunnels reduce resistance, and make it possible to install larger, high efficiency ducted propellers.

- Optional waste heat recovery system to heat or cool cargo and accommodation.

Rob Schuurmans, project manager and initiator of the EcoLiner concept commented: "With the hull built in Romania and installation and outfitting of all main systems in the Netherlands, including all generator-gas engines, power management, propulsion and steering gear, we make efficient use of our specialized facilities. The ship is 110 metres long and is Bureau Veritas-classed. Delivery is scheduled in the summer of 2015."

The first EcoLiner will be delivered as a tanker, however Damen points out that the modular design can be built to transport any commodity, including containers and dry bulk. Damen added that the complete LNG installation, including tanks with bunker capacity of approximately 45 cubic metres of LNG, is located aft of the accommodation, thus ensuring that the configuration forward of the cofferdam can be entirely tailored to customer-specific requirements.

The Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ADN-UNECE) has approved the gas-powered design, which means that the vessel can travel on all international inland waterways.

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