Nordlaks orders world-first, LNG-battery wellboat hybrid

William Stoichevski

Norway-based salmon farmer, Nordlaks, has commissioned the building in Turkey of the world’s first wellboat to be driven by liquefied natural gas, or LNG, and a battery pack, the vessel’s designer, NSK Design, has announced.

The “hybrid” propulsion combo is expected to cut emissions of carbon-dioxide by 30 percent and of nitrogen oxide by 90 percent, as it plies Northern waters carrying live salmon.

“Today, Nordlaks has one wellboat. We are now contracting a new boat with forward-looking technology for increased transport capacity,” company wellboat operations boss, Kurt Werner Nielsen, said in a statement that hinted of a planned increase in production at Norlaks.

Shipyard harvest
While contract costs were not released, another wellboat, the Ronja Supporter, secured NOK 141.8 million kroner in finance Norwegian export-finance agency, GIEK, for a build at a Norwegian yard. Turkish yards, however, have feasted on building vessels of this size at lower prices, and they have worked with NSK on similar designs.

The design by Harstad-based NSK design anticipates the coming demands by growers for added-value that includes less handling, greater volume and processing on a vessel’s direct path to land-based fish distribution.

Turkish Tersan Shipyard will build the 84-meter vessel equipped with water quality advancements for the transport of over 600 tonnes of live salmon. The propulsion system is said to reduce the operating and maintenance costs for the wellboats, although initial LNG engine costs are understood to still be higher that for a conventional diesel-electric engine.

Offshore ops
The wellboat is also designed to operate in more exposed waters, as is expected at Nordlak’s future “offshore” grow-out, Havfarms.

“Next-generation wellboats have a number of power-intensive processes on board, and the logistics and operating patterns of the wellboats make LNG and batteries suitable as power sources,” an announcement said.

The vessel is due for delivery in February 2020.

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