Babcock’s LGE business, part of Babcock International Group, has developed the first truly disruptive technology in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market in 50 years. Ships carrying LNG must control the pressure of their LNG cargo, as evaporation occurs in the tanks. The ecoSMRT® system captures and reliquefies this ‘boil-off’ gas, with significant reductions in emissions compared with current technology. Unlike existing technology, the ecoSMRT® system uses a single compressor, without the need for external pre-cooling, resulting in significant energy efficiency savings.
The ecoSMRT® LNG reliquefaction system for LNG carriers delivers up to a 50% reduction in carbon footprint, a 50% reduction in maintenance costs, 40% reduction in the physical space required, and improves power efficiency by up to 20% when compared with existing systems.
With demand for LNG set to double by 2040, boil-off gas recovery is fundamental to improving the environmental credentials of today’s modern LNG carrier fleets. It is estimated that each ecoSMRT® reliquefaction system in service on an LNG ship can save the equivalent of up to 19,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted per year, compared to older systems that burn off the excess gas. When all current order book ecoSMRT® systems are operational, they could save approximately ¾ of a million tonnes per year of CO2 emissions, compared to older systems that burn off the excess gas.
Neale Campbell, Managing Director of Babcock’s LGE business, said:
'The development, bringing to market and successful in-service operation of ecoSMRT® has been a remarkable achievement across the entire Babcock LGE business over a five year journey. This highly innovative and disruptive technology has achieved significant commercial success and the arrival is well-timed, as LNG shipbuilding enters a new era where energy efficiency and environmental emission reduction are essential requirements of the world energy transportation markets.
'We now look forward to supporting many of the world’s leading ship-owners, delivering LNG internationally, demonstrating British engineering at its best.'
Babcock LGE’s finalist team includes:
Neale Campbell, Managing Director
Alan Duckett, Technical Director
Dr Nik Felbab, Principal Process Engineer
Anne Keron, Process and Safety Engineering Manager
Anselm Foxell, Principal Mechanical Engineer
MacRobert Award Judge Dr Liane Smith FREng commented:
'Babcock’s LGE business is paving the way for energy-efficient LNG cargo operations and ecoSMRT® is an important solution for ship-owners and shipyards looking at delivering a sustainable future. The team’s ingenuity in designing a completely new approach for recovering boil-off-gas, in a competitive and highly technology-intensive engineering system is very impressive. The final innovation required detailed optimisation of the new equipment whilst integrating it into the overall process control, to enable a truly disruptive technology for LNG transportation.'