MAN Diesel & Turbo licensee Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (MES) has for the first time successfully demonstrated the liquid-gas-injection concept in Japan using the very first ME-LGI engine to ever be commercially produced.
The successful demonstration took place on 17 June, 2015 at MES’ facility in Tamano, Japan in front of about 60 invited guests from the marine industry.
The ME-LGI engine, with the type designation 7S50ME-B9.3-LGI, was built for a vessel currently under construction by Minaminippon Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. for Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.
A natural step
Ole Grøne, Senior Vice President of Low Speed Promotion & Sales at MAN Diesel & Turbo described the event as a significant milestone in the development of Diesel technology.
“The immediate market acceptance of our ME-GI (Gas Injection) engine confirmed the growing demand for low-sulphur, non-HFO options in the face of increasingly stricter sulphur limits in fuel. In turn, extending our dual-fuel engine programme with an ME-LGI unit that can run on liquid fuels was therefore a natural step,” said Grøne.
“The interest in our ME-LGI engine confirms this dual-fuel, low-speed trend and will offer even more alternatives to HFO, which – apart from methanol – will include LPG, dimethyl ether (DME), and (bio-) ethanol, as well as several other, low-sulphur, low-flashpoint fuels,” he added.
Mitsui’s ME-LGI demonstration involved four separate stages, including switch to methanol running; methanol running 50-75%; load variation; and change to fuel-oil running.
The ME-LGI concept
The ME-LGI concept is an entirely new concept that can be applied to all MAN Diesel & Turbo low-speed engines, both as an original unit or through retrofitting. Now with two injection concepts, the ME-GI and the ME-LGI concept greatly expand the company’s dual-fuel portfolio and enables the exploitation of more low-flashpoint fuels such as methanol and LPG.
The engine’s ‘ME-’ prefix indicates that the new engine benefits from well-proven electronic controls that also encompass the fuel being injected by a so-called Fuel Booster Injection Valve. This innovative fuel booster, specially developed for the ME-LGI engine, ensures that a low-pressure, fuel-gas supply system can be employed, significantly reducing first-time costs and increasing reliability. The Fuel Booster Injection Valve will be introduced also on regular ME HFO engines, eventually.
MAN developed the ME-LGI engine in response to the shipping industry’s interest 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 said that it is already working towards a Tier-III-compatible ME-LGI version.