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Tankage technology spurred by gas boom

08th November 2012

As the oil and gas storage technology sector adapts to the logistical demands of a golden age of gas, OGT reports on the latest tankage technological developments

Tankage technology spurred by gas boom
The energy storage tech sector is seeking to keep up with the global gas boom, as new and more efficient methods and equipments are developed to extract and harness the abundant resource

Rising gas exploration has ushered what experts have called a “golden age” for the abundant energy resource. Gas is no longer just riding the proverbial backseat of the oil-powered global energy bandwagon but is coming into its own. It is becoming a real player in the energy game, set to replace coal in power plants as well as oil and diesel in the transportation sector.

This gas boom has naturally called for the energy tech sector to keep up with its breathtaking pace, as new and more efficient methods and equipments are developed to extract and harness the abundant resource.

This year, new technologies were developed within the tankage sector to address some of the more pressing issues of the gas industry, such as partial filling and sloshing in LNG containers. Sloshing has become a growing concern as demand for membrane-type LNG containers that can operate with cargo loaded to any filling level rises. To address these concerns, new and more efficient LNG containment systems were developed.

ACTIB: a new gas tank technology developed by DSME

In the tank technology sector, the world’s second largest shipbuilder, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) developed a new gas technology, called Aluminium Cargo Tank Independent Type B (ACTIB). ACTIB tanks are large prismatic independent cargo tanks which are able to reduce sloshing and are suitable for widespread use for LNG containment.

The new prismatic IMO Type B independent cargo tanks are made of insulated aluminium 5083 and will have “the world’s largest storage capacity” in an independent, insulated LNG tank system, the firm said, adding that it would be nearly three times larger than comparable types currently in operation.

The tank is prepared to withstand sloshing and is designed for wider use in LNG shuttle tankers, LNG FPSOs and LNG-as-fuel tanks where partial fill is an operational issue. ACTIB will initially be used in the DSME designed 210,000 m3 volume LNG carrier.

“This new IMO type B independent cargo tank with insulation system developed with our own technology for extremely low temperature LNG containment system can be immediately incorporated into very large LNG carriers and/or LNG-FPSOs,” said vice president and head of hull design at DSME Man Soo Kim.

Global strategic marketing manager of marine at Lloyd’s Register said the ACTIB would provide “another option to the gas industry for cargo containment systems in LNG carriers, LNG FPSOs, and the like”. DSME also plans to apply the ACTIB system to the fuel tank design of LNG-fuelled ships such as

DSME’s next-generation ‘green ship’ powered by LNG. The ACTIB tanks were approved in May by maritime classification society and independent risk management organisation Lloyd’s Register. 

General Dynamics unveils new LNG containment system

Also stamped by Lloyd’s Register is a new tank technology developed by a division of US shipbuilder and fifth largest defence contractor in the world General Dynamics, General Dynamics NASSCO. The firm in February announced a new LNG containment system designed to overcome several obstacles facing current LNG tank technologies.

The news followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between NASSCO and an arm of UK Braemar Shipping Services, Braemar Technical Services, the later agreeing to market the technology.

The new containment system is a Type B tank designed to overcome the issues associated with partial filling and sloshing. The system is built off hull and, Braeman claims, allows for significant reductions in LNG carrier build time. It will be developed for all LNG markets, according to the firm, including LNG bunker vessels, LNG FPSOs, LNG FSRUs and LNG FSUs.

Kevin Graney, General Dynamics NASSCO’s vice president of programs, said: “Our technology is designed to address several operational and shipbuilding constraints of existing LNG tank technologies while further enabling the use of LNG as a clean, sustainable energy source.”

Geoff Green of Braemar Technical Services stated: “It is clear that this new technology can play a major role in the development of LNG transportation and storage in the future and we are delighted to be working with General Dynamics NASSCO.”

Energy and innovation sectors partner to launch cost-effective CNG tanks

The effect of the gas boom is such that it is tilting the automotive fuel table, as increased support and investment have made natural gas a more viable fuel alternative. It is therefore unsurprising that Western companies are helping to usher a fuel age where gas steps up to the plate. One of these companies is the manufacturing conglomerate 3M.

3M announced in February it would design and manufacture new compressed natural gas (CNG) tanks for application in all sectors of the US transportation sector as part of an agreement with US oil and gas firm Chesapeake Energy Corporation for.

The new tanks will boast a high cost-efficiency ratio, both firms claim, which is key to implement CNG as an alternative automotive fuel source in the country. Through the use of nanoparticle-enhanced resin technology and damage-resistant films, the firm claims its CNG tanks will cost less, be more durable and safer, and 10 to 20 per cent lighter while boasting an equal increase in capacity.

“We are excited about this collaboration to speed the development and adoption of natural gas-powered vehicles,” said George Buckley, Chairman, president and CEO of 3M.  Aubrey K. McClendon, Chesapeake’s Chief Executive Officer  said: “We applaud 3M for… creating innovative tank technology that will make natural gas vehicles more affordable and accessible to fleets and individual consumers nationwide.”

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