The liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier segment is currently the fastest growing segment of the commercial marine arena. This is due in part to the increased worldwide demand for LNG that has triggered the need for larger carrier fleets and more cargo capacity. With many changes driving this fluid segment, LNG carriers could benefit from employing gas turbines for onboard power generation and ship propulsion. According to GE, the space-saving gas turbines also offer ease of use, flexible operation, and lower maintenance costs that will ultimately translate into increased revenues for LNG carrier owners and operators.
GE offers LNG carrier designers, owners and operators a variety of gas turbine configurations that are based on its LM6000TM, LM2500 and LM2500+ aeroderivative gas turbines based on mature, and reliable aircraft engine technology.
Some of the benefits of using gas turbines for LNG carrier propulsion, according to GE, are:
- Ability to purchase the propulsion system much later in the build cycle
- Lower installation costs
- Dual-fuel capabilities
- Small foot print of gas turbines offer more room for increased cargo capacity
- High thermal efficiency of gas turbines means lower fuel costs
- Crews can be easily familiarized with gas turbine package operation
- Gas turbines require "hands-off" operation and on-condition maintenance
- Engine exchange can be accomplished within 24 hours without dry-docking
- Engine can be overhauled or exchanged via GE's lease engine pool
- Joint services, i.e., financing, is available to customers through GE
The experience gathered on GE gas turbines is not limited to the commercial marine industry. On the contrary, currently there are more than 1,200 GE gas turbines in fleets of 30 navies worldwide, having accumulated more than nine million operating hours. These engines are applied aboard diverse high-speed vessels such as destroyers, frigates, corvettes, amphibious assault vehicles, patrol boats and aircraft carriers. LM gas turbines have been used in both mechanical and electric drive configurations for military and commercial marine mechanical drive ship propulsion, as well as to drive compressors and gas re-injection pumps in industrial applications. Lloyd's Register of Shipping has recently issued an Approval in Principle for GE's LM2500-based gas turbine propulsion system for LNG ships.