Dual-fuel ME-GIE successfully runs on ethane
The world’s first ME-GIE (-Gas Injection Ethane) two-stroke engine has successfully passed gas trials on board the ‘Gaschem Beluga’, an LEG (liquefied ethylene gas) carrier, while sailing between Houston and the Bahamas, MAN said in its press release.
The Mitsui-MAN B&W 7G50ME-C9.5-GIE unit is the first in a series of two engines acting as main propulsion for two such LEG carriers of 36,000 m3 ordered by Hartmann Reederei of Germany and Ocean Yield of Norway, and constructed at Sinopacific Offshore Engineering (SOE) in China.
MAN Diesel & Turbo personnel monitored proceedings aboard the vessel and reported successful operation on ethane with the ME-GIE responding as expected to different loads. No gas leaks were observed while ethane levels in the double-walled piping were constant and comfortably under the gas’s LEL (Lower Explosive Limit).
The Gaschem Beluga subsequently crossed the Atlantic on its way to Europe, powered solely by ethane, and has already achieved a total of 550 operational hours.
Indeed, MAN Diesel & Turbo’s research recently confirmed that ME-GIE operation on VOCs is feasible, making it an eminently suitable main driver within the shuttle tanker and VLCC segments.
The Gaschem Beluga is equipped with a propulsion package supplied by MAN Diesel & Turbo, Frederikshavn (Denmark). It includes a remote control system AT3000, a VBS 1350 – ODS Mk5 CP Propeller, and a shaft generator with frequency converter that enables it to run on variable speed between 80 to 100rpm.
MAN Diesel & Turbo currently has eight ME-GIE engines on order.
The benefits of the ME-GIE’s Diesel-type combustion can now be fully exploited by its ability to operate on almost any gas quality – without any reduction in efficiency – and through a complete combustion maintained by a relatively high gas-injection pressure.
The engine will be able to run on a mixture of LPG and methane, or ethane, with an unchanged gas-mode efficiency. Such a mixture may comprise as much as 50% LPG, while MAN Diesel & Turbo’s findings thus far indicate that an even greater LPG percentage can be used.