Increased demand for LNG carriers has helped Alfa Laval grow its market share of Gas Combustion Units (GCUs) as it wins orders for more than half of the LNG carriers built this year.
Since buying the fledgling technology from Snecma in 2013, Alfa Laval has proven the GCU concept and built up a strong position for the product in the LNG market with more than 100 orders won to date. The proven and simple incineration unit for boil-off gas, with few components and a minimal number of interfaces and moving parts, now has a long track record among the largest LNG ship owners. In 2018, the GCU has been the choice for the majority of LNG newbuilds.
“The Alfa Laval GCU has proven a very good solution for our needs,” said Miltos Zisis, Innovation and Technology Manager at GasLog. The Monaco-based operator which manages one of the world’s largest LNG fleets, purchased the 100th GCU from Alfa Laval. “Between its compactness and simplicity, the GCU is easily integrated into our LNG carriers and provides the high reliability we demand.”
The GCU is central to the Alfa Laval portfolio of systems for LNG, which also includes the Alfa Laval Smit LNG inert gas generators. The company has continued to develop the GCU technology, both in partnership with customers and at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre in Aalborg, Denmark. Since the expansion of the Test & Training Centre for gas applications in 2017, a full-size GCU has been the focal point of the 1350m2 testing space.
“Numerous GCU advances have been made at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre, such as a full free-flow application that enables full-capacity burning at low inlet pressure without the need for gas compressors,” said Pieter Borg, Manager Exhaust & Combustion Systems at Alfa Laval. “We have also implemented Alfa Laval Touch Control, which is the same control system used on other Alfa Laval products, such as Aalborg boilers and Smit inert gas generators.”
The next development will appear in 2019, when a smaller version is expected for commercial release. Whereas the current GCU is most suited to large vessels, the new unit will be optimised for 100–1000kg/h of boil-off gas. “The smaller GCU will be an excellent fit for small LNG carriers, floating storage and regasification units, LNG bunker vessels and vessels using LNG as fuel, which also need an option for burning boil-off gas,” said Borg.