Danish pump manufacturer Svanehøj has received two large pump orders from Korean shipyards Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) for six new Very Large Ethane Carriers (VLECs).

A total of 84 deepwell pumps will be shipped from Svanehøj’s pump factory in Aalborg, Denmark to South Korea over the coming months.

Full-scale tests are being conducted in the pump factory’s 35-metre test tower. 

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Source: Svanehøj

The Svanehøj test tower is an unrivaled tool to validate how the deepwell pumps operate in the most extreme conditions.

“Our tower simulates the conditions on board the ship. The pump is suspended in the tower, in the same way as in the tank, and during the four hours of testing, we measure the changes in temperature and vibration,” said Svanehøj’s Project Manager Lars Foged.

“For us, it is a facility of incredible importance, because we are able to demonstrate ‘robustness of design’, so that customers can see for themselves that our pumps are as efficient and stable as we say they are.”

It takes two large mobile cranes to erect and mount the long deepwell pumps in the tower. The customer pays all costs associated with a test, and the offshore industry is usually alone in investing in pump testing, because of the extremely high safety requirements.

However, this case concerns a new solution for handling liquefied ethane, developed by Svanehøj in collaboration with French gas tank specialist, GTT.

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Source: Svanehøj

Project Manager Lars Foged in front of a pump inside the Svanehøj test tower during one of the HHI/SHI-tests in March 2020.

The system involves three pump types: cargo pumps to unload the gas, spray pumps to keep it refrigerated and fuel pumps to ensure that the gas is transported from the giant membrane tanks to the ship’s engines.

As this is the first time the solution is to be installed on such a large scale (each ship measures 230 x 36.6 metres), nothing is being left to chance.

SHI and HHI are each building three VLEC tankers for a Chinese customer. Svanehøj will supply eight cargo pumps, two fuel pumps and four spray pumps for each of the six VLEC’s.

The cargo pumps will unload the ethane when the ships dock in China and will otherwise be idle during the crossing from the US.

The ethane will be transported at -94ºC and, during the crossing, the spray pumps will keep the tanks refrigerated.

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Source: Svanehøj

The test tower simulates the conditions on board a ship. During the four hours of testing, changes in temperature and vibration are measured to demonstrate “robustness of design”.

The fuel pumps carry the liquid ethane from the tanks and to the main engine. All pumps are 28.5 metres long.

When the parts have been manufactured, they will be packed in 40-foot containers and shipped to South Korea.

The shipset for the first of the six tankers was shipped in mid-March.