Building on a 38-year history of manufacturing external tanks for NASA’s Space Shuttle program, Lockheed Martin is producing LNG storage tanks. Lockheed Martin is under contract to produce cryogenic LNG storage tanks for Wartsila, a Finnish power solution provider and Harvey Gulf International Marine, a marine transportation company.
“There is a growing need for storing and transporting LNG to consumers,” said Rob Smith, vice president of Space & Cyber programs for Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions. “Having developed complex cryogenic external tanks for NASA for years, it made sense for us to apply that technological expertise to the liquefied natural gas tank market.”
Lockheed Martin custom manufactures tanks in different variants and materials, and is currently manufacturing both marine-based LNG tanks for Offshore Supply Vessels and land-based tanks. All tanks are manufactured to ASME standards for pressure vessels using the quality and safety attention to detail that was implemented for the shuttle tank program.
All LNG tanks are manufactured inside the spacious main manufacturing building at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where Lockheed Martin manufactured and delivered 136 external fuel tanks for NASA space shuttle missions. Producing tanks inside this 43-acre indoor facility eliminates outdoor manufacturing issues that arise from weather-related delays. A deep water barge dock allows for efficient shipping of the tanks to customer’s waterfront locations.
Lockheed Martin is also investigating how to leverage existing capabilities and services to improve the safety and efficiency of distributing and handling LNG. For example, Lockheed Martin developed an auto-coupler solution for the Atlas V Launch Vehicle to safely and automatically transfer cryogenic fuel. If adapted to the LNG industry, this technology would safely simplify bunkering of cryogenic fuels in port.
LNG World News Staff, December 11, 2013; Image: NASA