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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

South Korean shipbuilders join 'go green' race

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Korean dockyards are racing to develop environment-friendly shipbuilding technologies and "green" vessels, as the green wave reaches the global shipbuilding industry. STX Shipbuilding, one of the country's three shipbuilding powerhouses, said yesterday it has developed a next-generation vessel which cuts carbon emissions by 45 percent and raises the fuel efficiency rate by 41 percent.
"The Green Dream ECO-Ship is a product for the next 20 years when countries around the world are expected to adopt stricter environmental regulations," explained Choi Young-dal, an STX official who led the project to develop a green vessel.
"Demand for eco-friendly ships will grow. The company aims to be the leader of green shipbuilding, expanding on the GD Eco-Ship," he said.
Last week, its bigger rival Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. held a launching ceremony for a 3,000 ton patrol vessel, which it claims is the country's first hybrid ship.
The vessel, christened Taepyungyang 9, is equipped with a 750 kilowatt electric motor in addition to a major diesel engine. When cruising at low speed below 12 knots, the vessel can run solely on an electric motor without operating its major engine, Hyundai officials said.
"The hybrid vessel is expected to save 25 percent in fuel per year and reduce CO2 emissions by 10 tons," it said in a statement.
In June, Samsung Heavy Industries won the Clean Shipping Awards given by DNV and Nor-Shipping, the world's largest marine transportation and shipping fair, for a 110,000 ton shuttle tanker currently under construction. It is the first Korean firm to win an international award for environmental protection and eco-friendly shipbuilding technology.
The Amundsen Spirit is the first of the four shuttle tankers ordered by Canada's Teekay at Samsung Heavy in 2007. The vessel will reduce much less greenhouse gas once it is operable, company officials explained.
Energy-efficient and eco-friendly vessels are one of the areas that local companies are focusing on, as their global leadership is increasingly threatened by Chinese chasers.
China, however, taking full advantage of low labor cost and domestic demand is set to overtake Korea as the world's No. 1 shipbuilding nation. Seven of the world's top 10 shipbuilders, including Hyundai, Samsung and STX, are based in Korea.
Source: The Korea Herald