DNV’s new concept container ship may seem like something out of science fiction, but a closer look reveals a vessel which has been conceived and designed to help owners manage everyday challenges. The Quantum Container Ship concept vessel represents the synthesis of new concepts, technology and systems to create a container ship concept designed to meet the evolving challenges of the future. While its sleek, futuristic design is certainly eye-catching, most of the technology that makes the vessel concept unique is already here.
Before DNV began drafting designs, it conducted a market analysis to identify future needs with respect to trade, ship size, type of cargo, and port capacities. DNV also conducted an industry survey to identify critical industry needs and alternative solutions – ranging from hull design to propulsion systems, structural improvements to cargo handling systems.
The results were revealing: Owners ranked environmental footprint in the top five considerations when building a new container ship, along with other, more predictable priorities, such as fuel efficiency, operational reliability, future regulatory compliance and reducing operational costs. Based on market studies, the development team chose to develop a 6,000 TEU container ship (what they called a “baby post Panamax”), trading between Europe and the East Coast of South America.
Fuel savings and emission of CO2, SOx and NOx are genuine industry concerns, so DNV selected a dual-fuel power generation system based on MDO and LNG ideally suited for short-sea shipping and capable of operating in Emission Control Areas (ECAs). Developing a hybrid fuel system represented a significant challenge with respect to LNG storage, as the LNG fuel may require up to three times more space than ordinary fuel oil. However, the dual-fuel electrical motors give more flexibility to utilise small void spaces, and by moving the engine room aft, they created space below accommodation for two 2,500m3 LNG tanks without sacrificing space suitable for containers.
Quantum is powered by four dual-fuel engines providing a redundant machinery system with flexible power generation over a wide speed range. By switching to LNG when approaching the coastline, ECA requirements to exhaust emissions are fulfilled and cold ironing is not needed. Propulsion is provided by two electrically driven pods giving superior manoeuvrability in crowded ports.
The broad beam of the vessel (42.5m at waterline) improves stability and practically eliminates the need for ballast. With the WideDeck solution (49m at deck level) container capacity is improved without increasing the fuel consumption. A twelve-metre draft allows the vessel to trade in shallow waters – including river ports.
The unique shape of the Quantum’s bow helps reduce wind resistance, resulting in further fuel savings. In addition, the hull design specifications – including the use of new, lightweight composite structures utilising plastic laminates, such as glass fibres and epoxy resins and dual-component polyurethane core structures – reduce the vessel’s weight by an estimated 1,000 tonnes.
To help owners improve loading and offloading efficiency DNV developed an improved cargo handling system. A lightweight, open top frame, capable of carrying up to eight (empty) 20-foot containers in one lift, helps reduce time in port by making loading and offloading faster. The frame-system also reduces the time required to secure the cargo, further speeding up the loading/offloading process.