MAN hosts final phase of EU LNG initiative
MAN Diesel & Turbo has marked the final phase of the EU-funded Helios project by hosting an industry conference at its PrimeServ Academy in Copenhagen.
The Motorship attended the event, at which the results of the Helios project, aiming to develop a research platform for an LNG-fuelled two-stroke marine Diesel engine. Helios is part of the EU 7th framework programme, and MAN as lead organisation was partnered by Germanischer Lloyd, Kistler Instruments, Sandvik Powdermet, TGE Marine Gas Engineering and four universities - Uppsala, Erlangen, Jonkoping and Lund.
The project centred around MAN's ME-GI research engine and it was enlightening to see the two different approaches to gas-fuelled two-stroke developments following our visit to Wartsila in Trieste two weeks ago. MAN's high pressure gas system is undoubtedly more complex than the competing low-pressure technology, burns a higher percentage of pilot fuel, and will need EGR or SCR in order to meet IMO Tier III emissions limits. However, it appears to be engineered with an even more highly fail-safe approach to problems with the gas system and a simpler retrofit possibility. In addition, the company says that it offers shipowners the most flexible choice of fuel possible, and although NOx emissions are currently above Tier III limits, methane slip is very low, so carbon emissions - and hence EEDI - implications are highly positive, the engine is tolerant to variations in gas quality, and it can run on gas at loads of 10% or lower. MAN is confident that with further development the pilot fuel percentage can reduce further, and NOx emissions can be cut.
The Helios project has explored wider aspects of LNG as fuel in Europe, including availability, pricing and infrastructure, as well as lubrication and wear issues resulting from using ultra-low sulphur fuels.
The ME-GI engine has already attracted orders, the first being for TOTE container ships, which was not expected by MAN, as well as Teekay LNG tankers and for two larger container ships for US company Matson. No doubt the low price of LNG in North America has influenced these orders. MAN expects the market for dual-fuel two-stroke engines to grow rapidly as the lower ECA sulphur limits come into force.
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