NIIGATA has recently been expanding orders of its dual fuel engine 28AHX-DF series for direct drive application especially in tugboats. The number of orders becomes totally 15 units in 8 vessels through Asian and European customers. In these vessels, the 28AHX-DF dual fuel engines drive not only azimuth thruster NIIGATA Z-PELLER with fixed or controllable pitch propellers but also other thrusters like Voith Schneider Propeller. NIIGATA has supported LNG-fuelled vessels’ operation and construction based on its broad know-how and experiences in various vessel applications.
Since 2015, Japan’s first LNG-fuelled tug Sakigake has been in commercial operation powered by NIIGATA propulsion package of dual fuel engines and Z-PELLER azimuth thrusters. This vessel is also World’s first LNG-fuelled tug coupled with fixed pitch azimuth thrusters. This configuration is essential for tugboats, that is able to follow a frequent and sudden load fluctuation in gas mode, and also changeover between gas and diesel modes smoothly, even at any load condition.
Recently built LNG-fuelled tugboats are KST Liberty and Maju Loyalty operated in Singapore, owned by Keppel Smit Towage / Maju Maritime, a joint venture of Keppel and Royal Boskalis Westminster. Each is equipped with two 6L28AHX-DF main engines each of 1,920kW, and two NIIGATA ZP-41 fixed pitch azimuth thrusters.
This year is the 100th year anniversary of NIIGATA diesel engines, and in addition, the 50th year anniversary of NIIGATA Z-PELLER azimuth thrusters. 100 years ago, Japan’s first marine diesel engine was developed by this brand. Its fuel oil consumption is approximately 70% of major hot-bulb engine at that time, and it became widely accepted. The first Z-PELLER was delivered for a tugboat in 1969, and over 5,000 units have been shipped to the world nowadays.
NIIGATA has released upgraded azimuth thruster ZP-41 with fixed pitch propellers of 2,700mm diameter to be guaranteed 85 ton bollard pull for vessels. It is achievable 90 ton bollard pull at 110% input power.
NIIGATA brand name of engines and Z-PELLER is continuously used after renaming from Niigata Power Systems to IHI Power Systems in July, 2019 by acquisition of IHI Corporation’s gas turbine power plant business, and 2- and 4-stroke engine manufacturer Diesel United.