The next generation tank containersLNGTainer was launched in Helsinki in early September 2017. It has ADR/RID and IMDG standard certifications, approved by Lloyd’s Register. “The most innovative aspect is the insulation, which has been moved from the outside to the inside of the pressure vessel. With this patented structure, we could cut the total weight of the tank container by approximately 30% and increase its cargo capacity by up to 15%. Considering all these features, operational costs and emissions can be cut by even 25%”, says Tom Sommardal, CEO of LNGTainer.
The demand for LNG is increasing, at the cost of coal and oil. According to BP industry estimates, strong growth is forecast for the coming years. In practical terms, this means some 3,000 new containers will be needed every year.
In gas deliveries, the biggest challenge has been high transport costs. “With our solution, not only are transport costs lower. You can also load more gas into the container. This is a real win-win result which can improve LNG’s availability and spread its usage from the larger scale to a smaller scale,” Sommardal says.
A perfect match
To create such an advanced design, cooperation with expert partners is needed. Outokumpu’s austenitic stainless steel Supra 316plus, (EN 1.4420, ASTM UNS S31655) an enhanced version of grade 316L/4404, is used in the inner tank of the massive 40ft container.
“At first, we planned to use aluminium, but chose Supra 316plus for its unbeatable qualities and competitive price. Outokumpu offered us a cost-effective solution with very attractive product features. We actually tested the solution with Outokumpu experts and tailored it to fit our needs,” says Sommardal.
Outokumpu Supra 316plus delivers high corrosion resistance and strength, good formability and excellent weldability. At the same time, it offers the possibility of using thinner gauges to save material and to decrease emissions and the carbon footprint during the tank container’s life cycle.
“One important feature is the fact that the grade’s main features, strength and ductility, improve as temperatures drop. Its performance is ideal in extreme conditions, such as the LNG transport temperature of -164 Celsius,” Sommardal emphasizes.