Norwegian integrated automation and energy specialist Høglund has been commissioned to supply integrated hybrid, automation, and digital solutions to two asphalt carriers to be built at Wuhu Shipyard in China.

The 21,500 dwt ships were ordered earlier this year by Continental Bitumen, an integrated procurement, logistics and distribution company supplying bitumen in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Thailand’s Tipco Asphalt is the technical manager and operator of the asphalt carriers.

As informed, the central part of this delivery is a hybrid-electric system, which will be integrated into, monitored, and controlled by Høglund’s integrated automation system (IAS) and power management system (PMS).

Responsible for fuel consumption and emissions monitoring and overall vessel performance is Høglund Ship Performance Monitor.

The design, one of the first of its kind, aims to deliver greater energy efficiency over a wide range of speeds and operational parameters with the installation of a hybrid drive, energy storage battery system and variable speed shaft generator (VSSG).

The VSSG is said to give the crew more control over the power supplied to the propeller, with additional generators supplying power to the propeller at different speeds when necessary. The hybrid drive allows excess energy from the propeller shaft to be recovered and re-used for additional power when needed, reducing overall power consumption.

The overall effect of these innovations is that the vessel will be able to operate at greater efficiency over a wider range of speeds and propeller pitches, with a smaller main engine. It also allows the cargo pumps to operate at different speeds, giving additional flexibility in loading and unloading locations, according to Høglund.

“The growing demand for green infrastructure that we are seeing globally is increasing pressure on the world’s aging fleet of bitumen and asphalt carriers. Innovations in this space not only save fuel but also enable vessels to load and unload at more ports around the world, unlocking operational and commercial flexibility as well as better performance,” David Gunaseelan, VP Sales from Høglund, commented.

“Green legislation such as EEXI and CII is accelerating, but there is still a lot of uncertainty and confusion about the eventual fuel mix that will help shipping meet existing and new environmental criteria.”

“These hybrid and VSSG systems are applicable across all kinds of vessel types and can deliver improved performance and efficiency no matter the type of propulsion,” Gunaseelan added.

“Investing in this new generation of carriers is a critical step for us that highlights our commitment to future-proof our fleet and improve the environmental and efficiency credentials of our vessels,” Oscar Olav Palacios, Fleet Manager from Tipco, said.

“By working with Høglund … we will bolster the energy efficiency and sustainability credentials of our asphalt carriers and substantially increase the flexibility of our operations.”

“With an outlook to optimise our fuel efficiency and operational flexibility, we are certain that Høglund’s fully advanced integrated hybrid, automation and digital solutions will be hugely beneficial to our CSR strategy and will reinforce our vision to continuously contribute to the industry’s sustainable development,” Palacios concluded.

Design of asphalt carriers

Swedish ship designer FKAB Marine Design presented the design of the two units earlier this year.

Photo: Høglund

Each ship is 168.7 meters long and 28.2 meters wide.

The bitumen & oil product tanker has independent cargo tanks for bitumen and asphalt.

The propulsion system consists of a four-stroke DF main engine with CP-propeller using LNG/LBG as main fuels. It is designed with full battery / UPS power, preventing from blackouts.

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