cleanPittsburgh Region Clean Cities (PRCC) has established a team and successfully proposed and was awarded a project by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) to convert an inland waterways towboat to run with natural gas in a dual fuel mode – part diesel and part natural gas.  This project is expected to run about 2 years including a one year period of design and conversion of the vessel and one year of operational demonstration of the technology including measurement of exhaust emissions.  The project recently was kicked off by MARAD.

The vessel to be converted is the M/V RON-CHRIS (soon to be M/V O.B. DEMENT).  It is a twin screw 56’ x 20’ towboat built in 1952 by St. Louis Shipbuilding and Steel Company.  It currently is powered by twin Cummins Model NTA855M diesel engines rated at 350 bhp @ 1800 rpm.  Each currently operating engine was built in 1987.

PRCC is looking for companies interested in providing a “fumigation” type system, one separately for both main propulsion engines, on the M/V Ron-Chris.  This system shall allow the engine/s to burn diesel and/or natural gas (LNG) efficiently and automatically.  Fumigation is defined as the supply of natural gas in the form of LNG converted to gas and delivered as gas to the engines combustion air inlet system.  In the interest of sole source coordination, PRCC would like companies responding to provide a “turn-key” system but will accept responses for major portions of the system from LNG tanks to the final fumigation system mounted on or near the engines.

All bid packages are to be submitted and received by PRCC by midnight August 25, 2016.  Electronic submittals are acceptable.

Anyone interested in this project with an intent to submit a bid, should request the bid package from:

Dr. Lutitia Clipper
PRCC MARAD Emissions Reduction Demonstration
Project Manager
[email protected]


Click here for more info.

Click here for additional info on a gas fuel system schematic.



Q: Is the M/V Ron-Chris subject to US Coast Guard inspection and ABS (or other classing agency) regulations?

A: The RON CHRIS is not subject to the same ABS and USCG regulations as an ocean going vessel. The vessel is not built to or under ABS regulations. The vessel and the natural gas upgrade is subject to review and approval by the USCG. There are no other regulatory agencies involved in this project

Q: USCG CG-512 (CG-521) Policy Letter defers to IMO MSC.285(86) with regard to vessel design utilizing LNG. Are these design requirements relevant for this conversion?

A: This program is subject to many of the requirements of both the USCG and IMO regulations. Given that this is a first-of-the-kind installation for a US inland river boat; there are also areas where waivers are being requested due to the type of installation.

Q: The fuel gas control system will require integration with the engine control system; should these cost be included in the proposal? If so, is a detailed engine control system document available?

A: The cost of integrating the gas control system with the engine control system must be included as part of the system cost. There is not a detailed engine control system document available. Engine power/speed requirements and resulting gas/diesel mix should be controlled by the requirements of the engine governor/control system as it does for a pure diesel mix it operates under currently.

Q: The future gas detection system will require integration with the fuel gas system. Is there a spec available for the gas detection system detailing the method of interaction?

A: The gas detection system will be spec’d after the fumigation is selected.

Q: Is the ventilation system for the double wall gas piping to be provided as part of this RFP or is it included in the owner supplied equipment?

A: Owner supplied.

Q: Over-the-road LNG systems typically utilize engine coolant in the vaporizer. Is there an operational consideration that would prevent engine coolant utilization aboard the M/V Ron-Chris?

A: Do to the closed design of the engine coolant system, it is not available for integration into the LNG vaporizer.

Q: NFPA-37 is relevant to the fuel gas piping but not listed in the RFP. Is the intent to comply with all NFPA requirements?

A: All relevant NFPA requirements are applicable.

Q: We may be interested in supplying part or all of the equipment possibly with other partners for this

project. (I.e. Engineering Firms or Shipbuilding companies). Is it possible to submit a Bid Response for

our desired portion of the work? How would we coordinate with other firm(s)/companies on our


A: The PRCC MARAD Bid Package allows for both entire “Turn Key” and submissions specifying selected

section responses. This question expressing an interest for collaborative submission will be posted on

the PRCC Website so that parties may alert PRCC and facilitate that connection around the project

requirements in the SOW.


Q: Our company manufactures a patented hydrogen infusion device that has recently passed California’s

CARB testing. The I-Phi equipment, installed on diesel engines, improves fuel efficiency while

dramatically reducing carbon emissions. Our equipment can be installed on any large diesel engine,

such as trucks, buses, marine, heavy equipment, generators, etc., using commercial or biodiesel fuel. In

addition, the equipment provides more torque and reduces maintenance costs. We’d like to discuss our

technology with you in more detail, with an eye towards conducting a trial of that equipment on

selected engines within your program, for your group’s evaluation and approval. Please review the

attached document, and contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss our device and the

proposed trial.

A: Thank you for signaling the Project Team of your recent success in achieving CARB Certification via

your innovative Hydrogen Infusion System development. As you surmised from review of the Bid

Package received the narrow focus for our MARAD PRCC sponsored Research Demonstration is natural

gas fumigation. We welcome your input and response to the RFQ and look forward to follow up

regarding the information that you’ve shared once we have gotten through the necessary steps of the

stated process.


Q: We represent nine (9) companies, with a couple having a fair amount of business in the LNG market,

i.e. LNG Re-Liquefaction & TMC screw air compressors within Canada and USA.

I would ask if you could advise which Naval Architect company is working on the design aspect for this


A: There are multiple Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering companies supporting this MARAD

project. At this point in the project, we are interested in only responses that support the program as

stated in the RFQ. If you have a specific question regarding perspective equipment you would want to

quote on, please submit a specific question.


Q: May I ask: what is the geographical location of the vessel?

A: The geographical location or the place of performance is stated in the SOW as on the Ohio River in

and around Tiltonsville, OH.


Q: Page 7, 4): It states “… per the supplied drawings …” No drawings were supplied.

A: Drawings will be added to the PRCC website when Q&A’s are posted by 07/22/2016


Q: The specification and Pricing page is for individual equipment price, ITEM 001 and ITEM

002.  Do you have a local installer in mind?

A: The current project planning includes the owner to provide most of the installation support on the

project.  Once the system is selected the final details of the installation will be determined, however, it is

anticipated that the system provider will provide any installation details and onsite support as required.

If a bidder so chooses, they can provide an installation cost as a separately quoted item.


Q: Is Walden Industries the designated installer?

A: Walden Industries is the owner and anticipates will perform the installation.  They will also approve

and oversee the installation of the natural gas conversion equipment.


Q: Can we contact them before bidding for scope clarification?

A: The contacts listed in the RFP will be the sole source of any scope clarification or discussion.  Please

contact them via email or if necessary by telephone for clarification.  All answers to questions submitted

will be posted on the PRCC website.


Q: Announcement of the bid invitation and your e-mail encourage “turn-key” system.

Would you still require six months period of performance?

A: Yes: Please quote your best delivery if six months is a problem.


Q: Can equipment manufacturer be a foreign firm? Can foreign firm bid?

A: Yes, but identify origin of any foreign supply.


Q: The general design specifications, citing 5 agency rules (not all of which apply to the engine system).  Only the CFR is available on line for free.   Can your group make available the current sections that apply to this marine project or are we required to purchase them?

A: We can’t make available any applicable reference materials. It is up to each potential bidder to have what they consider applicable reference materials. If after review of any applicable reference materials, there are any obvious conflicts, the individual conflicts will be addressed.


Q: ECI has a full set of SAE specifications but they are from 1990,  a little out of date,  doesn’t have a j2343.   Same as NFPA,  we have older versions of 52,  what’s changed?

A: See the answer to question number 1.


Q: The SOW section ITEM 002 3)  indicates piping shall be installed by the contractor.  Is it Walden Industries that will be installing the systems?   Our price then is for the system and technical support only?

A: The intent is to have the supplier of the gas system responsible for the installation of the equipment they are supplying. This can be directly by the supplier or through a 3rd party installer. Any modifications to the boat to accept the new system will be done by Walden or their assigned vendor.


Q: As this project has an interest in emission reduction,  are catalytic converters for the exhausts expected or desired as part of the engine system?

A: They are not expected or desired for this part of the program.


Q: Are compressed air for controls available on the vessel?   Is not uncommon for this to be the case.  Air controlled shutoff valves would be a good option if air is available.

A: This vessel does not have air control system but the boat does have an air supply system.

Q: Leak detection for the vessel is not a part of the engine system?

A: Leak detection is a separate item that will be bid out later.


Q: What is the expectation regarding controls and indicators for the engine room and pilot house.

A: It is expected that there will be one control station with indicators for the engine room and one for the pilot house.


Q: NFPA 52 chapter 14 for marine indicates the engine crankcase should be equipped with explosion relief valve.   I don’t think that engine has a location where one would possibly fit.   What is the expectation regarding full rule compliance?   We read the section regarding  “alternative design standards will be evaluated”  not sure how much weight will be put on some of these details.   Your comments will be appreciated.

A: Where the size of the vessel and the engine precludes meeting applicable rules and regulations, alternative methods of meeting the intent of the rules and regulations will be considered and applied where possible.