MAN and ABB Partner on Dual-fuel Electric Propulsion
Engine manufacturer MAN Energy Solutions and technology company ABB will work together to develop a dual-fuel electric plant concept for liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, engineered as part of the companies' efforts to help the international shipping industry reduce its emissions footprint.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding, signed at September’s SMM trade show in Hamburg, the two companies will develop a Dual-Fuel, Electric+ (DFE+) propulsion system concept based on MAN’s new 49/60DF four stroke engine and ABB’s Dynamic AC (DAC) power distribution and control system. It will be suitable for LNG carriers as well as floating storage units (FSU) and floating storage and regasification units (FSRU).
In addition to the joint concept study, the scope of the cooperation covers sharing technical data as well as discussing interfaces and system integration.
“Customers demand efficient and flexible propulsion systems to react quickly to changing market conditions and achieve the best utilization for their assets,” said Elvis Ettenhofer, Head of Marine Four-Stroke – Region Asia Pacific, MAN Energy Solutions. “This agreement represents an agile response from MAN and ABB, using our technologies to deliver a next-generation, Dual-Fuel, Electric+ (DFE+) propulsion concept. This technology will help customers to reduce their CO2 footprint and fuel costs, and provide flexibility in operation. ABB’s DAC system and global presence are an ideal match for our new four-stroke engine.”
“Progressive regulations on emissions have called for continuous innovation in marine propulsion,” said Rune Lysebo, Global Head of Global Sales, ABB Marine & Ports. “To be truly future-proof, ships that are being built today need to be able to rely on flexibility in energy sourcing. The new power and propulsion system will be optimized for efficiency and compliance, and have the flexibility needed to achieve best performance.”
A combined dual-fuel electric power and propulsion system could be installed with an energy storage solution to enhance load management, or come coupled with ABB’s Azipod electric propulsion. MAN and ABB will also explore integrating fuel cells as the technology matures.
Whereas the conventional DFDE concept is characterized by constant-speed operating engines (gensets) over the entire engine load, optimized for high load, for example, the 85% load point and in part- and low-load have high methane slip and less efficiency, the new MAN/ABB DFE+ concept comprises variable-speed operating engines (gensets) over the entire engine load and better efficiency with significant reduction of methane slip over the entire engine map.
While variable-speed applications are well established for liquid-fuel systems up to 10mWe, torque requirements and the low efficiency of first-generation dual-fuel engines – including limitations in the e-systems design for diesel-electric propulsion systems over 10 mWe – killed variable speed for propulsion systems over 10mWe.
ABB’s Dynamic AC technology enables the operation of propulsion systems above 10 mWe at variable speed with all the accompanying benefits. In combination with the second-generation, high-efficiency MAN 49/60DF engine (with ALSi – Air Lubrication System interface, as an add-on), this DFE+ concept will provide customers with next-level efficiency and flexibility.