CMA CGM Jacques Saade fueled by LNG arrives at Rotterdam

The bunkering vessel Gas Agility is seen lying in Rotterdam alongside the Jacques Saade.

This week, the “CMA CGM Jacques Saade”, the first ultra-large container ship to run on natural gas, will call at the port of Rotterdam for the first time. A milestone.

When it comes to transport fuel, the port of Rotterdam has been working on the switch from oil to natural gas in the form of liquified natural gas, lng, for over ten years. The combustion thereof causes 20% less CO2 emissions and about 80% less nitrogen oxides (NOx) than those of fuel oil and is also virtually particulate matter and sulfur free.

The price for LNG per energy unit is now roughly at the level of marine gas oil (mgo, comparable to diesel), but it is expected that LNG will become cheaper than mgo in the future due to its rapidly increasing supply. Liquid natural gas is still a lot more expensive than regular fuel oil (heavy fuel oil, hfo), but it can only be used in combination with a scrubber, which requires a substantial investment.

The 18,600 cubic meter LNG tank, the size of a large product tanker, is at the heart of the “CMA CGM Jacques Saade”; the shipping company even says that the rest is actually built around it. It is a so-called membrane tank. It has a wafer-thin stainless steel interior (the membrane) and a double insulation layer, which ensures that the temperature of the liquefied natural gas does not exceed 162 degrees below zero. What nevertheless evaporates, the so-called boil-off, is collected and helps to maintain the cryogenic temperature because evaporation extracts heat.

The LNG bunkering vessel Gas Agility arrived last September at Holland Amerikakade near Cruiseport Rotterdam. It has moored there for its christening ceremony. Gas Agility is 135.5 meters long and, according to owner Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), “the world’s largest LNG bunkering vessel”.

At the moment 175 ships are fueled by LNG and 200 LNG ships are being built.

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