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ABS Targets Composite Carriers for Transporting Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)

07 May 2004

ABS has made calls to renew the design and process of transporting CNG on practical applications of novel concepts in CNG technology.

Speaking at the launch of its Guidance notes for building and classing ships carrying CNG, ABS vice president of energy development William J Sember said: “Operators and developers are calling upon us to provide more risk-based classification guidance than ever before”. At present, there are no existing CNG carriers, so no prior in-service or comparable design review history exists. The new ABS guidance notes will help operators enter and work this burgeoning market by providing our experience in validating novel ship and gas containment designs.”

One of the proposals Sember identified was a new design concept for CNG transportation. These included TransCanada's proposals for gas transport modules based upon reinforced composites, initially aimed at smaller ships and barges for river applications,

Trans Ocean Gas proposed to transport CNG in the hold of ship in a modularised fibre reinforced plastic pressure containment system, which received BS approval in principal last September. The proposed fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) pressure vessel gas containment system overcomes all the deficiencies of proposed steel-based systems. FRP pressure vessels have been proven safe and reliable through critical applications in the national defence, aerospace, and natural gas vehicle industries. They are light-weight, corrosion resistant, highly reliable, and have excellent low-temperature characteristics. When tested to burst pressures, they have non-violent failure modes. The Trans Ocean Gas method utilizes FRP pressure vessels that are modified in size for cost competitive large quantity gas storage on a ship.

ABS awarded approval in principle to the Trans Ocean Gas concept in September 2003.

Copies of the ABS Guidance Notes for Building and Classing Ships Carrying Compressed Natural Gas will be available soon on the ABS website.






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