Market Entry Beckons for ME-GI Engine
In separate announcements at MAN Diesel & Turbo’s second ME-GI test demonstration for customers in Copenhagen on 6 March, HHI-EMD – the Engine and Machinery Division of Hyundai Heavy Industries – and Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. stated that they intend to build prototypes of MAN Diesel & Turbo’s gas engine. The announcements effectively mean that the ME-GI has edged even closer to commercial production.
Both companies intend to carry out full-scale demonstrations of the ME-GI principle, based on the temporary conversion of existing production engines to ME-GI units. Accordingly, Hyundai intends to convert an 8S70ME-GI unit in November, 2012, while Mitsui will convert a 6S70ME-GI unit in the second quarter of 2013.
MAN Diesel & Turbo sees the announcement of the demonstrations as stemming from customer requests to employ the ME-GI engine in new projects and states that production capability for the ME-GI is already available. Similarly, the company also reports that test beds and ancillary gas-supply systems will also be available in time for ME-GI delivery.
“We view this latest development in the ME-GI project as very positive,” said Ole Grøne, Senior Vice President Low-Speed Promotion & Sales, MAN Diesel & Turbo. “It is immensely encouraging that some of our biggest licensees, based in the greatest shipbuilding countries in the world, are showing such tangible interest in this gas engine.”
Grøne attributed the licensee announcements of full-scale ME-GI demonstrations to customer interest and said: “Over the years, MAN Diesel & Turbo has staged tests in Copenhagen, where we have improved efficiency and lowered pilot injection volumes. But these full-scale demonstrations mark the most significant milestone yet for the ME-GI.”
The ME-GI engine is a gas-injection, dual-fuel, low-speed diesel engine, which when acting as main propulsion in LNG carriers or any other type of merchant marine vessel, can burn gas or fuel-oil at any ratio, depending on the energy source available on board and dictated by relative cost and owner preference. Indeed, Mitsui reports adopting twin ME-GI engines as prime movers aboard its concept LNG carrier ‘Double Eco MAX’ in July, 2011, a move which intends to realize a 30 percent reduction in fuel costs and CO2 emissions.
Depending on relative price and availability, as well as environmental considerations, the ME-GI engine gives shipowners and operators the option of using either gas or HFO.
MAN Diesel & Turbo sees significant opportunities arising for gas-fuelled tonnage, as fuel prices rise and modern exhaust-emission limits tighten. Indeed, previous research indicates that the ME-GI engine, when combined with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and waste-heat recovery (WHR) technologies, delivers significant reductions in CO2, NOx and SOx emissions, fulfilling Tier-II and Tier-III regulations.