Contract Makes First Commercial ME-LGI Engine Reality
Electronic LGI (Liquid Gas Injection), methanol-powered engine fills niche segment and delivers green emissions
Vancouver-based Waterfront Shipping has confirmed its Methanol Carrier Project for a series of 50,000-dwt methanol carriers, each powered by an MAN B&W ME-LGI main engine running on methanol. The confirmation stems from a Letter of Intent MAN Diesel & Turbo and Waterfront signed in July of this year. MAN Diesel & Turbo officially designates the ME-LGI engine as ME-B9.3-LGI.
In collaboration with leading shipping lines, Waterfront reports that it is behind the 2+1 × 6G50ME-LGI engines ordered by Westfal-Larsen, the 2+1 × 7S50ME-B9.3-LGI by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), and the 1+1+1 × 6G50ME-LGI with Marinvest/Skagerack Invest.
Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co., Ltd. (HMD) will build the Westfal-Larsen and Marinvest/Skagerack Invest vessels, while HHI-EMD, Hyundai Heavy Industries’ engine and machinery division, will construct the engines. For the MOL contract, Minami Nippon Shipbuilding will construct the newbuildings, while Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding (MES) will build the engines.
Ole Grøne, Senior Vice President – Low Speed Promotion & Sales – MAN Diesel & Turbo, said, “This order represents a real market breakthrough for our Liquid Gas Injection engine and is the first such, commercial project that is not reliant on external funding. Simply put, the ME-LGI engine was chosen for these carriers because it is the engine best suited to the application. The LGI engine is designed to handle low-flash-point, low-sulphur fuels like LPG and methanol, etc. Consequently, its green credentials are striking with emissions of sulphur being almost completely eliminated.”
MAN Diesel & Turbo announced the development of a new MAN B&W ME-LGI dual fuel engine on 1 July, 2013. The engine expands the company’s dual-fuel portfolio, enabling the use of more sustainable fuels such as methanol, ethanol and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
The company subsequently signed a Letter of Intent – less than two weeks later – with Vancouver-based Waterfront Shipping for the use of ME-LGI engines aboard its ships, a move that the new order now confirms. The engines will eventually run on 95% methanol, ignited by 5% pilot oil.
Waterfront Shipping, a wholly owned subsidiary of Methanex Corporation, is a global marine transportation company specialising in the transport of bulk chemicals and clean petroleum products. With the growing demand for cleaner marine fuel to meet environmental regulations coming into effect in Northern Europe and other regions, methanol is a promising alternative fuel for ships. “Methanol is a sulphur-free fuel and provides many environmental and clean-burning benefits. In using methanol-based marine fuel, we can reduce emissions and fuel costs at the same time,” stated Jone Hognestad, President, Waterfront Shipping, at the time of the signing of the Letter of Intent.
“With increasing fuel prices and upcoming shipping regulations, we identified the need to develop an engine that can enable ships to run on alternative fuels with enhanced environmental benefits. The ability of our ME-LGI engine to run on sulphur-free fuels offers great potential,” stated Ole Grøne.
MAN developed the ME-LGI engine in response to interest from the shipping world in operating on alternatives to heavy fuel oil. Methanol and LPG carriers have already operated at sea for many years and many more LPG tankers are currently being built as the global LPG infrastructure grows. With a viable, convenient and economic fuel already on-board, exploiting a fraction of the cargo to power a vessel makes sense with another important factor being the benefit to the environment. MAN Diesel & Turbo has previously stated that it is already working towards a Tier-III-compatible ME-LGI version.
The G-type program
MAN Diesel & Turbo’s G-type program entered the market in October 2010. The ‘G’ prefix before an engine means it has a design that follows the principles of the large-bore, Mark 9 engine series that MAN Diesel & Turbo introduced in 2006 with an ultra-long stroke that reduces engine speed, thereby paving the way for ship designs with unprecedented high-efficiency.
G-type engines’ longer stroke results in a lower rpm for the engine driving the propeller. This lower optimum engine speed allows the use of a larger propeller and is, ultimately, significantly more efficient in terms of engine propulsion. Together with an optimized engine design, this reduces fuel consumption and reduces CO2 emissions. Since its introduction, more than 350 engines have borne the G-prefix.