Dual-Fuel ME-GI Engine’s Prototype Revealed in South Korea
At a large customer event in Korea on 9 November 2012, Hyundai revealed the first, commercial MAN B&W ME-GI engine. The ME-GI is a gas-injection, dual-fuel, low-speed diesel engine that, 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 of combustibles and owner preference.
The ME-GI type was successfully demonstrated at the ceremony in Korea, culminating in it achieving 100% load when powered by gas with a minimal amount of pilot oil for ignition. The engine subsequently successfully passed its Type Approval Test at the end of November.
The customer event in Korea stemmed from the announcement in March 2012 where HHI-EMD – the Engine and Machinery Division of Hyundai Heavy Industries, Korea – stated its intention to build an ME-GI prototype, a sentiment matched by Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. of Japan who simultaneously announced their intention to do the same with a 6S70ME-C rebuilt as an ME-GI engine during the second quarter of 2013. The announcements brought the ME-GI even closer to commercial production.
Hyundai’s full-scale demonstration of the ME-GI principle is based on the temporary conversion to ME-GI of an existing production engine – an MAN B&W 8S70ME-C type – generously placed at its disposal by Frontline, the prominent Norwegian shipowner.
MAN Diesel & Turbo reports 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.
The ME-GI engine
Unveiled at a major event at MAN Diesel & Turbo’s Copenhagen Diesel Research Centre in May 2011, the ME-GI engine represents the culmination of many years’ work that began in the 1990s with the company’s prototype MC-GI dual-fuel engine. The first two-stroke GI engine, a 12K80MC-GI-S, entered service at a power plant in Chiba, near Tokyo, Japan in 1994.
Mitsui reported adopting twin ME-GI engines as prime movers aboard its concept LNG carrier ‘Double Eco MAX’ in July 2011, a move intended to realise a 30% reduction in fuel costs and CO2 emissions. Similarly, major yards in Korea, Japan and China have, or currently are, developing such concepts.
Depending on relative price and availability, as well as environmental considerations, the ME-GI engine gives shipowners and operators the option of using either HFO or gas – predominantly natural gas but also, eventually, LPG.
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 delivers significant reductions in CO2, NOx and SOx emissions.
MAN Diesel & Turbo predicts a broad, potential market for its ME-GI engine, extending from LNG and LPG carriers to other oceangoing vessel segments such as containerships as well as ships plying a fixed trade. As such, the ME-GI engine represents a highly efficient, flexible, propulsion-plant solution.
Technical presentation findings
The ME-GI Concept features dual-fuel operation modes with:
- no knocking
- no unintentional gas injection
- no escape of gas to crankcase or engine room
- no methane slip.
Benefits to the owner include:
- full power & performance
- full load response
- nbsp;full fuel flexibility (Tier II/Tier III)
- gas quality flexibility
- port-to-port gas-mode operation
- fully integrated control system.
MAN Diesel & Turbo’s MC/ME engine family has been on the market since 1982 and seen service in almost every type of marine application on container vessels, tankers of all sizes, bulk carriers, car carriers, RoRo and general cargo vessels.
As such, the MC/ME engine is a well-proven product in the industry while the GI (Gas Injection) solution was developed in parallel and finished for testing in the early 1990s.
Technically, there is very little difference between fuel-oil and gas-burning engines, but the GI engine provides an optimal fuel flexibility.
Press Release, December 10, 2012; Image: mandieselturbo