In a move being widely covered by the commercial shipping press, GE Marine and Lloyd’s Register have signed a memorandum of understanding to identify potential gas turbine-powered commercial ship projects.

"Through the MOU we will identify target segments and commercial customers for our highly-efficient marine gas turbine systems," said Brien Bolsinger, vice president of marine operations for GE Marine. "GE already has an established base of 90 marine gas turbines operating on 17 cruise ships, five high speed yachts and 19 fast ferries." confirms GE is referring to the world’s largest existing yacht, 180m Azzam, launched by the German builder Lürssen in 2013 with two GE LM2500 gas turbines alongside two MTU diesels, as well as Feadship’s 86m Ecsatasea and Fincantieri’s 1991 powerhouse yacht Destriero, which carried three GE LM1600 gas turbines that gave her a top speed of nearly 60 knots and got her from New York to England in two days.

180m Azzam, launched last year by Lürssen uses two MTU 20V 8000 M91 diesel engines alongside a pair of GE LM2500+G4 gas turbines. The entire propulsion system delivers 70 megawatts

So far, for superyachts, turbines have been installed for the express purpose of delivering high speeds. But the GE and Lloyd’s Register collaboration highlights the efficiency potentials of turbine systems, which have high power density and the ability to use diesel or natural gas as fuel.

GE has also been promoting its Dry Low NOx emissions (DLE) combustion system technology, which meets IMO Tier III and US EPA Tier IV requirements with no exhaust treatment when operating on natural gas or on liquid fuels in combined cycle.

According to Bolsinger, "GE’s industrial LM2500 family fleet has logged nearly 70 million hours operating on natural gas, of which 20 million hours were dual fuel applications. In addition, the 585 industrial applications that use our DLE combustion system have logged more than 12 million hours. Separately land-based operators report a 99.9 per cent reliability rate across our gas turbine fleet."

The MOU with Lloyds Register will allow GE to work with leading shipyards to approve, in principle, GE gas turbine-powered vessels for global customers. "Lloyd’s Register can assist industry stakeholders with understanding how the technical performance of these gas turbines can help meet their requirements,” said Nick Brown, marine chief operating officer, Lloyd’s Register. “We always welcome owners and operators who would like to participate in joint development projects involving new applications."

Along with the GE installations, other well-known gas turbine applications in superyachts include a series of four 35m Pershing 115s with Vericor gas turbines, Feadship’s 50m Sussurro which is powered by twin Textron Lycoming TF40 gas turbines and the 50m Oceanfast Mystique

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