Germany-based Herose sees LNG-fuelled engines as prime markets for its cryogenic valves. Mario Esche set out the company’s plans
What are Herose’s main LNG business interests?
Herose is a manufacturer of cryogenic valves with more than 140 years of experience in manufacturing and selling these products. We are introducing our knowhow in the cryogenic air gases business to LNG. Here, we are concentrating on four major application areas: storage, transport, fuelling and processing.
What products fit which business areas?
If we have a look at the four application areas, we find gate, globe, ball, check and safety valves used throughout these applications. Herose supplies a complete range of valves for shipping installations that have critical fire-safe requirements based on fire-resistance tests according to ISO 10497.
Herose has also developed valve packages to support LNG import terminals and bunkering infrastructure. For the marine industry, the valves must be classified. Ours are classified by leading societies, including DNV GL, ABS, Bureau Veritas and RINA.
For LNG bunkering, Herose supplies emergency shut-down valves that stop the flow of LNG within seconds. These actuated devices can be pneumatic or electrically driven and can be used in Ex Zones. The product standard for Herose LNG valves meets DIN EN 12567.
Where do you see opportunities and challenges in growing that business?
The opportunity is that more and more shipping companies, particularly cruise-vessel operators, are thinking of alternative fuels such as natural gas. With the IMO regulations coming up in 2020 we see great potential in the marine business. Aside from the ships, there is also the infrastructure, to be built up on shore, for bunkering and import terminals.
Our biggest challenge relates to world oil prices – and to questions about what will happen to US industry under the regime of president Donald Trump. Will there still be a focus on greener gases and alternative fuels, or will we go back to usiing traditional fuels?
Which projects and market segments are you focusing on this year?
The focus is on small and mid-scale LNG projects for onshore and marine business. There is a lot of activity and preparation in the cruise industry, so we are busy producing valves for cruise line operators. We also see the small-scale LNG business in east and Southeast Asia as a prospective growth area for us this year.
Fresh LNG carrier orders have slowed in recent months; how is Herose adjusting to this?
Our major focus is on LNG fuelled vessels, rather than on LNG cargo vessels, so the slowing down of orders for fresh LNG carriers is not affecting us.
On which segments are you focusing your R&D and marketing efforts to grow your business?
Knowing cryogenic processes, we are always looking forward to next-generation fuelling. Hydrogen and helium will play an important role, and the temperatures involved are much lower and the pressures much higher in this field. That presents a challenge for our research and development.
As for marketing, we are working to introduce the marine LNG industry to Herose’s long years of experience in cryogenic air gases. We have long-term frame contracts with the major air suppliers, including Linde, Air Liquide, Praxair and Messer, which means we have partners who are expert in high-quality valves.
Name: Mario Esche
Based in: Bad Oldesloe, Germany
Educated: Masters in sales and marketing management, Hamburg Nordakademie Graduate School
Outlook: In the coming year, in all three business units apart from cryogenic, we are providing safety vales for general industry and valves for oil-immersed transformers. We expect our business to grow this year. The new regulations from IMO will mobilise the whole shipping industry, and we will be part of that.