Tech originally developed for the space industry. Image Credit: ABS / OceanFinance / Scorpius Space Launch Company
A three-year project looking to adapt composite technologies to making lighter, less expensive LNG bunker tanks has attracted €1 million ($1.3 million) grant funding from the European Commission.
Project partners ABS, OceanFinance and Scorpius Space Launch Company (SSLC) say the composite carbon fiber technology that was originally developed for the space industry allows development of ultralight compact tanks that weigh up to 80% less than existing comparable designs, making LNG bunkers feasible for a broader range of marine vessels.
The trio are focusing their efforts on the short sea shipping market, hoping the product will be attractive to those looking at both retrofits and newbuildings.
“Existing LNG tank technology can make adoption of the fuel prohibitively expensive. This composite technology has proven itself in other industries; we are committed to learning how to safely apply those lessons to benefit the maritime industries,” said ABS Vice President for Global Gas Solutions, Patrick Janssens.
Dr. Panayotis Zacharioudakis, Managing Director, OceanFinance, says he expects sales of more than 2,000 tanks in the next 10 years.
The tanks are currently made by hand, but the project aims to automate the production to achieve more competitive pricing.