New LPG engine from MAN

28 Jan 2011
The general-cargo carrier newbuilding will be designed by FKAB in Gothenburg, Sweden's largest marine-consulting firm specialising in ship design and construction, and powered by MAN Diesel & Turbo’s new Liquid ME-GI engine running on LPG. Pictured here is another FKAB design for an LNG feeder vessel

The general-cargo carrier newbuilding will be designed by FKAB in Gothenburg, Sweden's largest marine-consulting firm specialising in ship design and construction, and powered by MAN Diesel & Turbo’s new Liquid ME-GI engine running on LPG. Pictured here is another FKAB design for an LNG feeder vessel

MAN Diesel & Turbo has introduced a new Liquid ME-GI (liquid gas injection) engine which is powered by LPG (liquid petroleum gas).

MAN says that LPG fuel represents a smaller market than LNG, but it is significant in certain sectors including small tankers, container vessels and ro-ro ships that operate in coastal areas and on inland waterways.

The Liquid ME-GI is a variant of MAN Diesel & Turbo’s ME-GI engine, which uses a control and safety system based on experience gained at working gas plants, including a 12K80MC-GI-S in Japan, and the development of a VOC (volatile organic compound) engine in the late 1990s. The development follows the decision in autumn 2010 to conduct full-scale type tests during 2011 for the ME-GI concept at MAN's test centre in Copenhagen.

All MAN Diesel & Turbo electronically controlled ME-engine types are available in dual-fuel versions with the LPG-fuelled version designated ME-LGI. The Liquid ME-GI engine’s performance is equivalent in terms of output, efficiency and rpm to MAN’s ME-C and ME-B series. As the Liquid ME-GI engine’s fuel system has few moving parts, it is claimed to be more tolerant of different fuel types and can run on DME (DiMethyl Ether). DME can act as a clean fuel when burned in suitably optimised engines. MAN says that DME displays significant potential as it has the same environmental benefits as LPG, is fully mixable with LPG, and can be produced from biomass.

Generally speaking, LPG-fuelled engines experience safe and reliable running with comparatively low maintenance costs while gas valves and gas pipes are smaller but similar to those of the well-known ME-GI engine.

The Liquid ME-GI engine uses liquid gas for injection all the way from tank to engine and non-cryogenic pumps can be used to generate the required pressure, comprising standard, proven equipment readily available from a large number of suppliers within the LPG industry.

By introducing LPG as fuel to the dual-fuel GI system, MAN says substantial emission benefits can be obtained, especially with regard to SOx, PM and CO2. NOx emission reductions and IMO Tier 3 targets can be achieved if LPG operation is combined with either an SCR or EGR system. Additionally, LPG sulphur levels are naturally minimal.

Ole Grøne, senior vice president low-speed promotions and sales, MAN Diesel & Turbo said: “There is already great interest in the Liquid ME-GI engine as operators look to control costs and emissions. We already have several interesting projects underway, not least with a general-cargo carrier newbuilding where we have signed a letter of intent with the shipowner.”

The carrier will be designed in Gothenburg by FKAB, Sweden's largest marine-consulting firm specialising in ship design and construction. “Operation on LPG seems also to solve the logistics problems that LNG has at this time since LPG, in principle, is accessible over almost all the planet. Furthermore, cryogenic technology is not required, which makes LPG auxiliary systems less expensive compared with LNG,” said Grøne.

He concluded: “This further expansion of our gas-engine series stems from the many possibilities we see within the LPG sector for the Liquid ME-GI‘s increased flexibility and greater control and, generally, within marine transportation. The addition of the Liquid ME-GI engine to our existing portfolio means that MAN Diesel & Turbo now offers the two-stroke market’s most comprehensive array of prime-mover solutions all the way up to 98-bore. I expect the development of the Liquid ME-GI engine to have a sizable impact on the market in the near future.”

As LPG is a by-product of LNG production, the existing price level for LPG is expected to reduce, making it more competitive with MDO and MGO. Since LPG is already a well-established fuel that enjoys a mature, global supply network with less-costly terminals and comparatively minor safety issues, older LPG carriers could function as bunkering stations as all have onboard reliquefaction plants installed which are less demanding and less expensive to run than such LNG systems. Furthermore, ship to ship loading of LPG is not considered complicated.

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