MAN demonstrates two-stroke methanol engine
MAN Diesel & Turbo demonstrated its methanol-burning ME-LGI engine in front of customers and partners in March.
The company, which has received orders for seven of the engines so far (from Mitsui OSK Lines, Marinvest and Westfal-Larsen), rebuilt its 50MX test engine to an ME-LGI unit. It ran the demonstration in the presence of those companies as well as Waterfront Shipping/Methanex, MES, HHI-EMD and Minaminippon.
Søren H. Jensen, vice president and head of R&D, MAN Diesel & Turbo, said: “We believe the ability of the ME-LGI engine to run on sulphur-free fuels offers great potential. Methanol carriers have already operated at sea for many years. With a viable, convenient and economic fuel already on-board, exploiting a fraction of the cargo to power a vessel makes sense.”
Unlike the existing ME-GI engine, where fuel is injected in its gaseous state, the ME-LGI engine can work with low-flashpoint liquid fuels such as methanol, which is liquid at room temperature and so can be stored in unpressurised containers.
MAN reported that the ME-LGI design successfully overcomes the challenge of low cetane fuels – such as methanol – whose self-ignition quality is characteristically poor. The engine using the same well-known principle as the ME-GI, with a pilot injection of MGO or HFO to start combustion.
Fuel injection is accomplished by a Fuel Booster Injection Valve (FBIV), using 300 bar of hydraulic power to raise the fuel pressure to an injection pressure of some 600 bar.
The engine designer noted that methanol contains no sulphur and is therefore a solution to ECA compliance, while its ease of handling means that expanding bunker infrastructure is “perfectly feasible, even for individual ships operating in remote areas”.
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