Powering Ahead Cleanly

By Greg Trauthwein, Editor
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Thomas S. Knudsen, SVP, Head of Marine Low Speed and CEO of Denmark, MAN Diesel & Turbo

MAN Diesel & Turbo’s Thomas S. Knudsen talks shop on LNG

 

When TOTE Inc. ordered the world’s first LNG-powered containerships (which were honored last month in Oslo, winning the DNV-sponsored “Next Generation Ship Award”), industry excitement was palpable. For MAN Diesel & Turbo it served as a definitive launch point for its ME-GI Dual Fuel engine, which was soon followed with an order from Teekay LNG Partners to power a pair of LNG Carriers. MR had the opportunity to sit with Thomas S. Knudsen, SVP, Head of Marine Low Speed and CEO of Denmark, MAN Diesel & Turbo, to discuss the ubiquitous engine maker’s current position and future prospects in the LNG fueled market.
 

While the notion of LNG as fuel is hardly new in maritime circles, adoption is still relatively small but continues to gain steam in this and other industries as LNG helps to provide compliance with ever stringent environmental regulations, and a gives a tidy economic savings given the current price differential between LNG and traditional marine fuels.


While the environmental and economic promise of LNG is substantial, hurdles remain; specifically the ready availability of the fuel as well as a number of questions regarding the efficient handling of the fuel in the marine environment. “The big issue is the bunkering,” said Thomas S. Knudsen, SVP, Head of Marine Low Speed and CEO of Denmark, MAN Diesel & Turbo. “If a big containership comes, it will empty all of the bunkering facilities that we have in Europe: One big ship will empty it. Huge bunking facilities will have to be made in the harbor or via a lightering vessel. That is the big obstacle, and the reason the big container companies have not taken this up yet.”


With every passing day though, there is seemingly another announcement of a new order for LNG-fueled commercial vessels, helping to make the hurdles fall faster. “We have run this engine in Japan for 20,000 hours with excellent results,” said Knudsen. He was in the U.S. earlier this year to help further gauge the market potential, a potential driven in large part by the entering to force of the North American Emission Control Area (ECA) last August. “I see that we have a good business opportunity here in the U.S. This is the beginning of the boom in the LNG shipping here in the United States, and there is no doubt that this wave will continue in strength.”

Times, They are a Changin’ …

In addition to the North American ECA and tightening environmental regulations for ship emissions globally, another major driver for the push to LNG is the potential economic benefits due to the ever-increasing discovery and recovery of shale gas – driven by North America but felt globally.

“Following several years of stronger-than-expected North American supply growth, the shockwaves of rising U.S. shale gas and light tight oil (LTO) and Canadian oil sands production are reaching virtually all recesses of the global oil market,” is how the International Energy Agency succinctly put it, the opening line in its latest report dubbed “Oil: Medium-Term Market Report 2013.”

North America, Asia, and South Africa are the shale gas resource leaders, and according to GL Noble Denton, the growth has been dramatic, with shale gas accounting for 1% of U.S. natural gas production in 2000; rising to 20% by 2010 and projected to increase to 46% by 2035. “In the old days, LNG carriers typically had a high boil off rate, so this fuel was considered free and nobody really discussed efficiency,” said Knudsen. But today LNG carriers have lowered the boil off rate and the fuel is no longer “free.” This, combined with the new discoveries and price differential between diesel and LNG has literally opened the door for what is broadly termed a revolution in marine power.

“From our side, the LNG Revolution is as similar as going from Coal to Diesel Engines. Of course the transition will take some time and it will be slow in the beginning,” Knudsen said. “But we believe that here in the U.S. that it will actually be very, very fast. But there is no doubt that this will revolutionize shipping.”

Another factor driving interest in the U.S. is the fact that gas prices fluctuate wildly on the global market, a factor that perhaps will stabilize as the shale-gas market matures and the U.S., as is expected, becomes a major net exporter of gas to global markets. “At the moment we do not have a global gas market,” Knudsen said. “The price level of gas, for example in Japan, is significantly higher than the price level of heavy fuel. But in the U.S. gas is cheaper than heavy fuel oil, and that will only increase the incentive to the ship owners to make this transformation.”

Expanding R&D

For any power plant manufacturer, a healthy R&D budget is essential not simply to prosper, but to survive. Legislative demands, much to the chagrin of the shipowning community, continues to drive innovation and expense across the entire maritime operation. Knudsen concurs: “It (new mandates) costs a hell of a lot of money. The new environmental rules account for more than 60% of our R&D effort.” But while shipowners continue to lament legislatively driven expenditures, Knudsen said that it doesn’t necessarily change the competitive field, as the rules are the same for all. Today, Knudsen said the company has an R&D department in Copenhagen numbering 200 strong, versus a crew of 40 when he started with the company. Predictably, a primary focus is developments in regards to Tier III engines.

“We have had massive investments and made many developments, so we are ready; but we need to test it and to prove that our design is without flaw.”

In addition to the newbuild market, Knudsen maintains that the demand for refits will be powerful as well. “You will not lose any efficiency and you will not lose any power (when refitting a diesel engine for LNG fuel),” Knudsen said. “Modification on the engine itself is relatively small.  The biggest part of the investment is the fuel tanks and the fuel supply system.”  Generally speaking, the size of the LNG fuel tanks are three times the size of the tanks on a similarly powered diesel engine ship, and building space for the larger tanks is one of the most important considerations for both the refit and the newbuild setors.

ME GI: The Time is Now

One of MAN Diesel & Turbo’s oldest licensees held a demonstration of the ME-GI concept on April 17, 2013 at its Tamano works, where guest viewed the engine and were able to listen to the company’s leadership – specifically MAN Diesel & Turbo’s Dr. René Umlauft, CEO, and Thomas Knudsen spoke to describe the impact of the new engine on the marketplace.

“Dual-fuel engines are tailored perfectly to these demands,” said Dr. Umlauft. “When operated in gas mode, CO2 and nitric oxide emissions are markedly reduced, while sulfur oxides, soot and particle emissions are virtually non-existent. Additionally, dual-fuel engines give ship owners and operators tremendous flexibility and cost-efficiency, since the fuel can be changed based on its availability and price.”

Knudsen spoke of his pride in the result of many years of joint effort between Mitsui and MAN Diesel & Turbo and also referenced the first GI engine that was developed in Tamano and later entered service, producing electricity for the Tokyo area. He called the demonstration of the 6S70ME-C-GI engine another visible sign of the high entrepreneurship and innovative capability of Mitsui.

“With this technology, Mitsui and MAN Diesel & Turbo will be able to supply the most environmentally friendly and most economical propulsion plants for not only LNG carriers but also VLCCs, container ships, RoRo ships, bulkers and other ship types,” Knudsen said. The ME-GI technology is a traditional two-stroke engine technology that can be maintained and overhauled by chief engineers already capable of maintaining existing two-stroke engines.
Unveiled in May 2011, the ME-GI engine is designed to give shipowners and operators the option of using either HFO or gas – predominantly natural gas but also LPG and methane.

Mitsui is the second MAN Diesel & Turbo two-stroke licensee to demonstrate the ME-GI concept after Hyundai did so in Korea in November 2012. Shortly afterwards, TOTE ordered two 8L70ME-GI engines to power two 3,100 TEU newbuilding container ships, with an option for three additional vessels. That announcement officially designated as ME-C-GI (M-type, Electronically Controlled, GI for Gas Injection) in the MAN Diesel & Turbo low-speed portfolio. The following month, MAN Diesel & Turbo was able to confirm the successful introduction of the ME-GI to the market with the announcement of another order when Teekay LNG Partners L.P. (Teekay LNG), an offshoot of Teekay Corporation, the international shipping group, placed an order for two LNG carriers powered by 2 × 2 5G70ME-GI engines, including an option for three further ships.

 

(As published in the July 2013 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News - www.marinelink.com)

  • Scenes from Japan of the ME-GI engine and its  demonstration at Mitsui’s Tamano works.

    Scenes from Japan of the ME-GI engine and its demonstration at Mitsui’s Tamano works.

Maritime Reporter August 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

MN 100: Gencorp Insurance Group

The Company: Gencorp Insurance Group provides the Insurance and Surety needs of Marine Contractors, Vessel Operators and Shipyards throughout the country and Caribbean.

MN 100: Bordelon Marine

The Company: Founded in 1979, Bordelon Marine is a leading provider of Marine Transportation services operating in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world. The

MN 100: Bouchard Transportation

The Company: Bouchard Transportation’s history dates back to its incorporation in 1918 by founder, Capt. Fred Bouchard, the youngest tugboat captain in the Port of New York.

Marine Propulsion

Exhaust Gas Scrubber Guide Updated

An updated version of the “Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems Selection Guide” is now available, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced today.   Developed

Thordon Bearings Names New China Distributor

Thordon Bearings Inc. of Canada announced that CY Engineering Co. Ltd. will take over as the new authorized distributor for the People’s Republic of China, including Macau and Hong Kong,

LUKOIL Marine Lubricants Opens Gothenburg Warehouse

LUKOIL Marine Lubricants informs it has opened a new warehouse in Gothenburg.   The marine lubricants supplier said it constantly strives to expand its global supply network,

Shipbuilding

MN 100: ContainerTug B.V.

The Company: ContainerTug B.V. is a specialized Dutch naval design engineering and construction company with a strong focus on developing workboats and the evaluation

Oman Drydock Company Expands Rapidly

Oman Drydock Company (ODC) is growing fast. In January, the yard hit an important milestone - its 300th drydocking. Harnessing the power of its new $1.8 billion, 1.

NASSCO Invests in Facilities, Equipment and People

General Dynamics NASSCO has invested several hundred million in capital projects as part of its efforts to increase efficiencies via  modular shipbuilding, including:

Container Ships

MN 100: ContainerTug B.V.

The Company: ContainerTug B.V. is a specialized Dutch naval design engineering and construction company with a strong focus on developing workboats and the evaluation

CFSAI Shifts to New Office in New Mumbai

Container Freight Station Association of India (CFSAI) has set up a full-fledged Secretariat and moved to its new office at “Anchorage Building” in Dronagiri  Node on 26th August 2015.

DP World H1 Earnings Jump, Mulls Iran launch

DP World may launch operations in Iran, the company's chairman said on Thursday, as the global ports operator reported a jump in half-year earnings after buying assets from its parent company.

Marine Power

Exhaust Gas Scrubber Guide Updated

An updated version of the “Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems Selection Guide” is now available, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced today.   Developed

Thordon Bearings Names New China Distributor

Thordon Bearings Inc. of Canada announced that CY Engineering Co. Ltd. will take over as the new authorized distributor for the People’s Republic of China, including Macau and Hong Kong,

LUKOIL Marine Lubricants Opens Gothenburg Warehouse

LUKOIL Marine Lubricants informs it has opened a new warehouse in Gothenburg.   The marine lubricants supplier said it constantly strives to expand its global supply network,

LNG

Oil Steadies as Equities Rally

Recovering stock markets boost oil prices; U.S. crude on track for first weekly gain in nine weeks. Oil prices steadied on Friday after bouncing back from six-and-a-half-year

Yamal LNG Arctic Project in Doldrums

The massive $27 billion Yamal LNG liquefied-natural-gas venture in the Arctic Circle, a centerpiece of President Vladimir Putin’s plan for Russia has been squeezed by U.

N-KOM: New VLCC Size Floating Dock

Nakilat-Keppel Offshore & Marine (N-KOM), the joint-venture shipyard of Keppel Offshore & Marine and Nakilat, continues to see strong interest for its ship repair services in 2015,

People in the News

Man Earns Jail Time for Hoax Coast Guard Calls

A man found guilty of making numerous hoax calls to the U.K. Coastguard has been jailed for four months, the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) reported.

The Maritime Person of the Year

The Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s annual salute to ‘the person of the year’ this year spotlights McAllister Towing and Transportation Co. and its leadership team.

Migrant Boat Sinks off Libya; 200 Feared Dead

A boat packed with mainly African migrants bound for Italy sank off the Libyan coast on Thursday and officials said up to 200 might have died. A security official in the western town of Zuwara,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.7239 sec (1 req/sec)