Photo: Image courtesy: MAN Energy Solutions

ABB, MAN join forces on dual-fuel propulsion solutions

Multinational technology specialist ABB and German engine manufacturer MAN Energy Solutions have teamed up on dual-fuel electric propulsion solutions.

The new propulsion plant concept will be suitable for LNG carriers, Floating Storage Units (FSUs), and Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRUs).

The aim is to cut carbon footprint and fuel costs for related vessels while increasing the operating flexibility of the ships.

Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, signed at September’s SMM trade show in Hamburg, the duo will collaborate on a dual-fuel electric plant concept based on MAN’s new 49/60DF four-stroke engine and ABB’s Dynamic AC (DAC) system. The scope of the cooperation covers sharing technical data as well as discussing interfaces and system integration.

Dual-fuel engines have consistently offered shipowners a high-efficiency route to cleaner fuel alternatives while also retaining the flexibility to switch to conventional fuels as required.

The 49/60DF engine made its debut at the fair. It distinguishes itself by offering a number of various emission paths.

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Namely, MAN’s latest 49/60DF four-stroke engine can run on LNG, diesel, biofuel blends, and synthetic natural gas to provide fuel flexibility on the path to decarbonization. MAN Energy Solutions plans to introduce a pure diesel engine based on the 49/60 platform in 2023 that will inherently be retrofit-ready for running on methanol and LNG should the demand arise at a later stage.

In ABB’s DAC concept, the electrical system combines the merits of conventional AC with the variable frequency which can adjust generator load to engine speeds, thereby optimizing total fuel consumption continuously.

ABB said that installing an energy storage solution in the power plant will also add to improved fuel efficiency.

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.

“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.”

“Progressive regulations on emissions have called for continuous innovation in marine propulsion,” said Rune Lysebo, 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.”

Last week, MAN announced that it was planning to reduce emissions from its own production facilities by 50% by 2030. This means that by 2030 sustainable technologies and solutions should account for the majority of MAN’s business and that the portfolio should also include a solution for CO2-neutral operation for every product group.

MAN is also working to further extend the operating life of its own products, including the conversion of diesel engines to run on LNG or climate-neutral fuels such as synthetic natural gas, green methanol, and ammonia.

The company has reached an important milestone in that, since January 2022, all electricity purchased for its European production sites has come from renewable sources. The company said that it was also planning to invest millions of euros to expand its own renewable energy generation.