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2020 January 14

Aleksandr Chemodanov: “The main focus is on the Arctic projects today”

Krylov State Research Center is one of Russia's leading research and design organizations featuring unique competences. Aleksandr Chemodanov, Deputy Head of the Civil Ship System’s Integration Division, KSRC, tells IAA PortNews about some civil projects under development in the Center.

- Mr Chemodanov, what are the key projects in the civil segment in the focus of Krylov State research Center today?

- It is known, that cargo traffic on the Northern Sea Route is to reach 80 million tonnes by 2024 (by the end of November 2019 it exceeded 27.5 million tonnes). The growth is primarily driven by shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the terminals in the Gulf of Ob. Therefore, the main focus is on the Arctic projects today with a particular attention paid implementation of the Arctic LNG 2 project. Krylov State Research Center is in charge of a package of works involving mathematical and physical modeling techniques.

First of all, KSRS has conducted a feasibility study of the parameters for modernization of the seaway canal in the Gulf of Ob aimed at ensuring reliability and safety of increased ship traffic.

Secondly, we conduct modelling of offshore operations on delivery and installation of large structures at the Utrenny terminal for LNG shipments. Under these projects, our Division is in charge of operations modelling in the ice basin.

By the way, basing on the experience review covering operation of gas carriers in Sabetta port under the Yamal LNG project and modelling of their motion in ice including the mode of being escorted by an icebreaker, some proposals have been prepared to improve the shape of suсh ships’ hulls.

Another up-to-date segment is the fleet of high-speed passenger ships. Having analyzed the requests from different regions of the country (Saint-Petersburg alone estimates the demand for new high-speed passenger ships at 18 units to replace the obsolete Meteors connecting the city with Peterhoff), KSRC has prepared proposals on designing high-speed displacement-type ships including multihulled crafts, catamarans and trimarans. Featuring the same speed and passenger capacity such ships will be more economically efficient as compared with the hydrofoils of Meteor type. A bid prepared for designing of such ships under the industry-focused programme have been supported by ad hoc expert authorities and we are waiting for the competition to be announced.

- Is there any interest to such high-speed ships from the part of foreign customers?

- Yes, the interest was expressed by representatives of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates … Yet the experience shows that nobody buys ‘paper’ today – everybody wants to see hardware. Therefore, our prime task is to start building such ships for the Russian market and a real export potential will appear then.

- Russia is already building high-speed passenger ships, new crafts of Kometa design …

- Actually, operation of Kometas like any other hydrofoils is efficient in specific conditions. In sea waters, well designed displacement-type ships will have a higher seaworthiness with an ability to withstand waves of one 1 - 1.5 meters higher. On rivers where proper cleaning and dredging in s not guaranteed hydrofoils run the risk of running across a sinker in a basic mode or taking the ground in a displacement mode.

- Will those ships be fitted with equipment of Russian origin?

- The key challenge (the same as for shipbuilding in general) is the absence of domestically-produced engines which entails the need to rely on foreign manufacturers. Some time ago, we were looking into construction of engines with a power range required for high-speed passenger ships by Zvezda plant in Saint-Petersburg. Hopefully, with the transition under control of Yekaterinburg based machine-building holding Sinara, building of diesel engines for ships will be at least preserved at Zvezda plant.

- What other projects are you involved in today?

- Amid the legal restrictions imposed on operation of foreign ships on the Russian shelf, the problem of fulfilling scheduled tasks on subsea pipelines has become acute for the existing Blue Stream and Nord Stream projects as well as for the Turkish Stream and Nord Stream 2 projects under construction. Together with Gazprom specialists, we have applied for being included into the state programme “Development of Shipbuilding and Facilities for Offshore Fields” with the development of a technical design of a ship intended for servicing underwater pipelines. We expect the competition to be announced in 2020 and we hope KSRC with its experience and competence will win.

- What are your activities in the segment of ships powered by alternative fuels?

- Under the contract with FSUE Rosmorport, Krylov State Research Center (Baltsudoproekt Central Design Bureau being supervised by our Division) is completing a technical design of a 12-14 MW diesel-electric icebreaker of Project 23620. According to its specifications, the ship should be able to run on LNG.

In general, it is important to bear in mind that toughening of international environmental requirements applicable to water transport facilities is an efficient competitive weapon of shipping and shipbuilding companies. The transition to gas fuel is hardly the only way to reduce emissions. When speaking about alternative technological solutions we should thoroughly consider all technical and economical aspects in the context of specific operation conditions since there is no silver bullet and that is confirmed by a variety of approaches being applied in foreign shipbuilding today.

In particular, Krylov State Research Center (Krylov’s electric engineering affiliate) is actively involved in development of electric propulsion systems based on hydrogen energy.

Interviewed by Vitaly Chernov