Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Maritime Propulsion

October 27, 2020

World First LPG-Retrofit BW Gemini Heads for Sea Trials

BW Gemini, a VLGC from the BW LPG fleet, had its MAN B&W 6G60ME-C9.2 main engine retrofitted to an MAN B&W 6G60ME- LGIP dual-fuel type, capable of operating on fuel oil and LPG. The conversion is the first of 12 for a series of LPG carriers owned by BW LPG (picture courtesy BW LPG)

BW LPG’s low-speed main-engine converted to dual-fuel running

Reportedly the first successful conversion of the main engine aboard the LPG carrier – from an MAN B&W 6G60ME-C9.2 type to an MAN B&W 6G60ME- LGIP dual-fuel type capable of operating on fuel oil and LPG – has been carried out on BW Gemini, which is part of the fleet of Oslo-listed BW LPG – the world's leading owner and operator of LPG vessels.

The conversion and start of gas and sea trials will make the BW Gemini the world’s first commercial vessel to be propelled by a two-stroke LPG dual-fuel engine. The conversion is the first of 12 ordered by BW LPG for a series of vessels in its fleet.

“Retrofitting allows us to minimize our carbon footprint – the process emits up to 97% less carbon dioxide compared to a newbuilding construction,” said Pontus Berg, EVP, Technical and Operations, LPG, BW LPG. “Retrofitting also means that we do not add additional tonnage that the world does not need. In addition, BW LPG’s fleet is already widely recognized amongst charterers for its efficiency, and so retrofitting 12 of its vessels to dual-fuel LPG would help to further reinforce the company’s strong reputation in this area.”

Dr. Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Energy Solutions, said: “The industry is moving towards a zero-carbon future and there is a strong global push towards sustainability. As we pass the 2020 sulfur cap and get closer to future IMO targets in 2030 and 2050, companies that show strong corporate commitment to sustainability will become more commercially attractive. In this context, this retrofit project represents an important milestone and case study for the future of our industry.”

MAN Energy Solutions announced the first four BW LPG retrofit orders for its new MAN B&W ME-LGIP LGP-powered engine in September 2018 in advance of the official launch of the engine at its Research Centre Copenhagen. Subsequently, in February 2020, the type approval/parent engine test was performed at licensee STX works in Korea with the TAT approved by all classification societies.  

The BW Gemini docked at Yui Lian Ship Yard in Shenzen, China in early August 2020 for conversion. Due to pandemic restrictions, the MAN PrimeServ project team collaborated in great part remotely to push the conversion forwards.  

Sea trials are scheduled for October 2020 with the LPG carrier due to re-enter commercial trading upon their successful completion.