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NYK Line Build Japan’s First LNG-Fueled Tugboat with Dual Fuel Engine

| Manufacturing and Production | 08/08/2014

NYK LINE - LNG fueled tugboat

NYK to Build Japan’s First LNG-Fueled Tug
Date: Dec 24, 2013
Source: NYK Line

NYK will build a tugboat 1 featuring a dual fuel engine 2 that can be powered by either liquefied natural gas (LNG) or heavy oil. Other than LNG carriers, this tugboat will be the first building in Japan of an LNG-fueled vessel.

NYK has enhanced its initiatives to mitigate environmental loads through the practical realization of environment-responsive technologies such as solar-powered systems and air-lubrication systems. 3 In 2011, NYK established a team in the company’s Fuel Group to research next-generation fuel alternatives to heavy oil, and looked into building an LNG-fueled vessel with the cooperation of Nippon Kaiji Kyokai and others, based on the results of a survey conducted by the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency. LNG received attention as a possible alternative to heavy oil because LNG does not emit any SOX and produces far less CO2 and NOX compared to heavy oil. In fact, using LNG as a fuel will cut this tugboat’s emissions of CO2 by about 30%, NOX by about 80%, and SOX by 100% compared to using heavy oil. 4

This project will be subsidized by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd. (head office: Tokyo) will supply the LNG, and with the support of Tokyo Gas, NYK will make arrangements for a safe LNG supply system.

Image of LNG-fueled tugboat

Dual fuel engine with Air-lubrication system

The NYK Group will aggressively continue to encourage initiatives to mitigate environmental loads by vessels.

  • 1 Tugboat
    A small boat that assists a large vessel leaving from and arriving at harbors and inland waterways.

  • 2 Dual fuel engine

    Engine that can use either liquefied natural gas (LNG) or heavy oil. If the engine is powered by gas, environmental loads will be reduced.

  • 3 Air-lubrication system
    Energy-saving technology that takes some of the main engine scavenging air (combustion air) from the main engine’s turbocharger and leads it to the vessel’s bottom to reduce the frictional resistance between the vessel’s bottom and the seawater.

  • 4 The benefits of LNG as a fuel were examined through research conducted by NYK and the following organizations:
    – Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
    – Nippon Kaiji Kyokai and two other companies
    – The Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT)


One Related article of “NYK Line Build Japan’s First LNG-Fueled Tugboat with Dual Fuel Engine”

  1. Japan’s first hybrid tugboat enters service
    Source: Marine Log

    MARCH 28, 2013 — NYK Group member Wing Maritime Service Corporation held a ceremony in Yokohama Port yesterday to mark the entry into service of the NYK Group’s tugboat Tsubasa (gross tonnage: 256 tons), Japan’s first tug to feature a hybrid propulsion system.

    Since March 15, Tsubasa has been used in ship assist towing operations primarily at the port of Yokohama and Kawasaki. She is equipped with a motor generator and high-performance rechargeable batteries (manufactured by the IHI Corporation) in addition to conventional diesel engines. Capable of operating solely on her diesel engines or on her electric-motors, depending upon the operating power needed, a fuel-efficient and low CO2 emission performance is achieved. The batteries can be charged not only by the onboard power generator, but also via electric-power from land. With these environmentally-friendly features, the new tugboat is expected to emit 20 per cent fewer CO2 emissions in port.

    Tsubasa was built by the NYK Group’s tugboat builder Keihin Dock Co. Ltd. Niigata Power Systems developed and manufactures the hybrid propulsion system.

    The tugboat was developed and manufactured with support from Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) as part of the society’s joint R&D with industry.

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