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November 17, 2010

Incat building LNG-fueled, gas turbine powered cat

Australian high-speed catamaran pioneer Incat is set to notch up another first. Under construction at its Hobart, Tasmania, shipyard is Hull 069, a 99 m cat that, says Incat, will be "the world's first high speed passenger Ro-Ro ship powered by environmentally friendly Liquified Natural Gas (LNG)."

Thw high speed ferry, with capacity for over 1,000 passengers and 153 cars, is being built for delivery in 2012 to a customer who has for now requested the commercial arrangements and route remain under wraps.

The prime movers will be GE Energy LM2500 gas turbines. with one LM2500 in each catamaran hull driving a Wartsila LJX 1720 waterjet, a departure from the usual use of two engines and two jets per hull in the diesel powered Incat vessels.

The gas turbines are to be modified to meet class requirements so that either LNG or marine distillate can be burned. There is nothing particularly new in the idea of burning LNG in a gas turbine and, indeed, GE was at one time shopping around the idea of using the LM2500 as a prime mover in LNG carriers. Incat says that the use of LNG as a gas turbine fuel will "allow lower emissions and operating costs for commercial fast ferries."

In Incat Hull 069, the fuel tanks for the LNG will be installed in a compartment above the double bottom marine distillate tanks. The change-over between the two fuels will be automatically controlled and seamless.

Incat Chairman Robert Clifford says "this is a significant step forward as the use of natural gas powered ships must replace ships with less environmentally friendly engines. This first LNG powered fast ship is expected to set the scene for the future."

Engineers from Incat and its associate company Revolution Design engineers are working closely with technical personnel from GE in Europe and the United States to progress the project which will be the first high speed craft built under the HSC code to be powered by gas turbines using LNG as the primary fuel and marine distillate for standby and ancillary use.


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