MHI to develop dual fuel two-stroke engine

05 Jul 2012
MHI’s UEC engine will be joined by a dual fuel variant

MHI’s UEC engine will be joined by a dual fuel variant

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is to begin development of dual fuel versions of its own low-speed marine diesel engines, to be known as the UEC-LSGi series, which will be capable of using both HFO and natural gas as fuel.

The new engine is scheduled to be launched onto the market in 2015. For the new engine, MHI will development new components suitable for dual-fuel use, including a new direct fuel injection system, a gas-fuel supply system and control system. Preliminary trails, on a single-cylinder test engine, is expected to be completed by the end of March 2014; the company says it will then conduct verification tests for full-scale engines with dual-fuel capability and bring the first production engines – of 600mm bore and output 11,000kW to 18,000kW - to the market.

The UEC-LSGi will use a diffusional combustion method, in which high-pressure gas, at about 300 bar, is injected in the air compressed by the cylinder stroke and ignited by the pilot flame by a very small amount of fuel oil. The method is said to offer good responsiveness to changes in gas fuel composition and sudden changes in engine load, compared with the pre-mixed combustion method, in which low-pressure gas is mixed with air and then compressed.

The UEC-LSGi will be designed to operate with HFO only up to 100% engine load. Use of MHI’s EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) technology, currently in development, and other techniques, will enable the new engine to comply with IMO NOx limits.

MHI believes that the price of heavy oil is expected to rise in the future, but In contrast, the price of natural gas will fluctuate in a relatively narrow range, and with shale gas coming to the market, MHI expects interest to increase in the use of gaseous fuels. The impetus should be further strengthened by future fuel sulphur restrictions, which will force users of HFO to use costly low sulphur content fuel or install exhaust gas treatment systems. The company says that if a low-speed marine diesel engine that is capable of using natural gas for its fuel is developed, those measures will become unnecessary as natural gas does not contain sulphur.

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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Marine Machinery & Engine Co

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