We have seen how the “concept” ship – a design which incorporates clever ideas but awaits serious investment – has emerged. Classification society DNV, which introduced their “Quantum” containership concept in 2010, has been busy again
and has now launched its “Triality” concept for a very large crude carrier.
As its name suggests Triality has three main objectives which it is hope will commend itself to the shipping industry. It offers improved environmental performance, it is technically robust as a design, incorporating known and proven techniques and it is also economically attractive.
And in pursuit of these objectives the tanker design incorporates four innovative ideas. A clever “vee” shaped hull and cargo tank arrangement allow for a ballast free ship, with the propellers and forward part of the hull well submerged even when the ship is empty. Liquefied Natural Gas is used as its main fuel rather than heavy oil, with the cooling effects of the gas used to eliminate another tanker problem, that of the release of Volatile Organic Compounds into the atmosphere. Instead these harmful gases from the cargo are condensed and used as fuel for the auxiliary boilers. Additionally, the same cooling effect from the liquefied fuel is used to dramatically cool down the air into the engine, with a consequent reduction in harmful exhaust emissions.
The Triality concept is an attempt to deal with the technical commercial, operational and environmental challenges that are increasingly being faced by ship operators. For instance, a ballast-free tanker design is enormously attractive, bearing in mind all the growing costs and problems of ballast water cleaning and disposal, the coating of ballast tanks and the like. The Triality hull is wider and longer than a conventional VLCC, while it is more streamlined under water. The use of LNG as its primary fuel may appear controversial, as there is as yet no international distribution infrastructure for this fuel. Nevertheless the two large gas tanks, which are on deck forward of the streamlined housing, will give the ship a range of some 26,000 nautical miles. It is also suggested that just as soon as the demand for LNG fuel is identified, the supply will be made available.
It is claimed that the design will be very much greener than a conventional ship, with a 34% reduction in CO2 and substantial reductions in other harmful emissions. Additionally it is suggested that fuel consumption will be some 11% lower, and up to 25% if the VOCs are used to fuel the boilers. Hopefully a ship owner will translate this exciting concept into reality.