Polarkonsult, Seaworks and key Norwegian equipment suppliers realized Vigdis H, a modern low-emission self-discharger
Written by: Cankut Demirkol and Arne Markussen
Published: January 10, 2024, 15:22 | Last modified: January 10, 2024, 15:22
Solid experience from the shipping company's self-dischargers
In the years before the work on Vigdis H, then operating under the project name PK-164, Polarkonsult had several assignments for Seaworks concerning the company’s vessels within bulk and cable laying. The collaboration with Seaworks was good and trustful, and Polarkonsult’s involvement in the conversion of Geir Tore H laid a strong foundation for further collaboration on self-dischargers. There was specific focus on the equipment for self-discharging.
Seaworks had received two self-dischargers from shipyards in Turkey in 2012-13, Helene H and Martin H. The vessels performed very well for the company’s activities in the self-discharger market. The vessels were equipped with traditional diesel powered propulsion and were relatively modestly equipped with engine power, facing some challenges in rough weather.
3D rendering of MV Vigdis H, 2023
The environmental aspects
Environmental aspects and operational reliability take focus
In 2016, personnel from Seaworks and Polarkonsult were in discussions and developed ideas for a somewhat larger vessel where environmental aspects were also brought into consideration. Seaworks wanted to build on the experiences gained from the aforementioned three vessels. The company had already received signals that customers in the bulk market would gradually prioritize environmental aspects and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. Polarkonsult’s thoughts and ideas on technology for a low-emission vessel sparked interest at Seaworks. Preliminary sketches and ideas were developed, but the work did not really gain momentum until January 2020 when Seaworks and Polarkonsult established a formal agreement on project development.
At that time, it was evident that the environmental aspect would be emphasized. Both clean diesel operation and operation with natural gas (LNG) were developed. It was understood that there was much discussion about pure zero-emission alternatives like Hydrogen, Methanol, and Ammonia. However, due to limited availability of such fuels in the relevant areas, these were less suitable options. Finally, LNG was chosen as it emits approximately 25% less CO2 than conventional diesel. Significant emphasis was also placed on other measures to reduce energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases and NOx. Extensive CFD analyses were conducted to optimize the hull and propulsion system. At this stage, Polarkonsult highlighted that an LNG engine could be run on zero-emission biogas (LBG). Polarkonsult received strong support from various Norwegian equipment suppliers.
3D rendering of MV Vigdis H, 2023
Important collaboration with equipment suppliers and support systems in a challenging pandemic period
The project development progressed rapidly into 2020. The environmental aspect was prioritized, the diesel alternative was set aside, and batteries were chosen in addition to LNG as fuel. Polarkonsult and the shipping company applied for– and received grants from both the NOx Fund and Enova. These were crucial milestones that marked the beginning for the shipping company and Polarkonsult to approach the global market with inquiries for construction in the summer of 2020. There was a significant interest in construction, but many shipyards were unfamiliar with LNG engines, and especially the self-discharging equipment was unknown to many yards. The collaboration with Norwegian equipment suppliers was highly central in the project’s development, and both the shipping company and Polarkonsult placed great importance on involving excellent Norwegian equipment suppliers. Negotiations were conducted with numerous Norwegian and European equipment suppliers, agreements that were continued into negotiations with the relevant shipyards. Especially, the collaboration with Kongsberg Maritime on machinery and Nordic Bulk on the self-discharging system was important and necessary in project development and negotiations with the shipyards.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and Norway in the winter of 2020, simultaneously with the establishment of the agreement with Seaworks for the project. Therefore, all meetings with the shipping company, shipyards, equipment suppliers, and other key parties were conducted via Teams. Polarkonsult was already well-equipped and accustomed to digital communication before the pandemic struck. The Teams app was heavily used by several project participants throughout 2020. The close physical contact, often crucial in building a relationship of trust, was absent. Additionally, global time differences posed a challenge as the time window for meetings was limited. Despite these challenges, Polarkonsult and the Seaworks managed to negotiate favorable offers from several shipyards, both in Europe and Asia.
3D rendering of MV Vigdis H, 2023
The vessel on its way to Harstad
A contract with Wuhu Shipyard Co, Ltd was signed on 4th February 2021, almost precisely a year after Polarkonsult and Seaworks seriously began the project. Polarkonsult established an agreement with the shipyard for delivery of detailed drawings and documentation for construction and approval. Polarkonsult largely completed the delivery in the calendar year 2021, before actual construction began in the winter of 2021/22. The shipping company engaged Peak Marine AS for building inspection at the shipyard.
The vessel was delivered in December 2023 and will arrive in Harstad in January 2024 after the self-discharging equipment is installed in Larvik.
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Polarkonsult, based in Harstad, is a prominent consultancy specializing in innovative ship design and maritime engineering services. Since 1974, the company has cemented its position in the industry by combining advanced technology with sustainable principles, helping clients around the world navigate towards a greener future.
With a dedicated team of experienced engineers and designers, Polarkonsult strives to deliver solutions that not only meet but exceed customer expectations and current industrial standards. The company’s commitment to environmental responsibility is evident in their projects, like MV Vigdis H, which represents a new era of environmentally friendly ships that contribute to reducing the global carbon footprint.
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