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MOL Confirms Successful Methanol Dual-fuel Engine Tests

MAN Diesel & Turbo ME-LGI Trail
Scene from the ME-LGI demonstration at the Tamano works

Published Jul 1, 2015 4:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd (MOL) has confirmed the successful testing of the world’s first low-speed methanol dual-fuel engine, which will be used in a series of newbuildings.

MOL announced today that engine building has already been completed and the manufacturer, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd has test-operated the unit using methanol fuel and confirmed that it met expected performance.

The new engines will be added to a fleet of new builds for Vancouver-based Waterfront Shipping Company Ltd. (WFS), which will be completed in 2016. The 50,000 dwt methanol flex-fuel carriers will be the first to utilize the new MAN Diesel & Turbo ME-LGI engine design, which can operate on methanol, fuel oil, marine oil, or gas oil. Eventually the engines will run on 95 percent methanol, ignited by 5 percent pilot oil.

Ole Grøne Senior Vice President – Low Speed Promotion & Sales – MAN Diesel & Turbo called completion of the tests a significant milestone in the development of diesel technology.

He went on to add, “we welcome our partners’ interest in our technology and acknowledge their taking the lead in proving the ME-LGI concept. We are confident that their faith will be rewarded in the immediate future.”

International and local regulatory requirements for CO2, NOX and SOX emissions have increasingly forced vessel owners to investigate greener and more innovative fuel sources. This new duel fuel technology has the capability to reduce a vessel’s CO2 emissions by 25 percent and NOX emissions by 60 percent when compared with traditional fuel oil. Also, since methanol does not contain sulfur it also successfully enables ships to operate with zero SOX emissions.

In comparison with other alternative fuel sources, methanol lends itself to easy transportation since it can be stored in normal, unpressurized tanks. It is also liquid at room temperature, which facilitates storage aboard vessels.

In March of this year the Stena Germanica underwent a conversion to become the world’s first methanol-powered ferry. It also operates on a dual-fuel design with methanol as its primary source and marine gas oil (MGO) as a backup option.