MAN ES: Moving Forward on Ammonia Engines

As shipowners ponder future fuels, MAN Energy Solutions is sailing full speed ahead optimizing dual fuel marine powerplants while preparing to start testing ammonia fueled engines in early 2023. Bjarne Foldager, Senior Vice President, head of two stroke business at MAN ES hosted Maritime Reporter & Engineering News in Copenhagen for a look behind the scenes at a cornerstone of its mandate to ‘Move big things to Zero.’

Just 10 years ago, in December 2012, word came that General Dynamics NASSCO finalized a contract with TOTE, Inc., for the design and construction of two 764-ft.-long, 3,100 TEU LNG-powered containerships, effectively setting a new benchmark in green ship technology: at the time the largest ships of any type in the world primarily powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

A short decade later, Bjarne Foldager, Senior Vice President, head of two stroke business at MAN ES, reports that in 2022, 54% of all new two-stroke engine orders from the global power leader – as measured in kW – will be dual fuel, a significant jump from 2021 when 23% of new engine orders were dual fuel.

While LNG still dominates the dual fuel choice today, that is starting to evolve too as LNG is not the fuel to get shipowners over the 2050 emissions hump. A broad array of new fuels – including SNG, biofuels, hydrogen, methanol and ammonia – are entering the mix as shipowners eye options that will enable them to more easily reach ever stricter emission and performance mandates.

MAN ES projects that 2035 will be the tipping point where ammonia will overtake methanol in terms of demand. “We will obviously have to wait and see,” said Hrishikesh Chatterjee, Promotion Manager, MAN Energy Solutions. “Many times when we make our projections, we are conservative. [But] we are expecting ammonia to be a game-changer in the dual fuel segment.”

In late 2022 MAN ES’ portfolio of two-stroke, dual-fuel engines passed a milestone, with more than 1,000 units on order or in service, with the ME-GI (-Gas Injection) engine leading the way with more than 500 orders. The first engine tests of the ME-LGI (-Liquid Gas Injection) platform began in 2015, followed by the first sea-trial for the ME-LGIM (methanol) engine in 2016. Development of an ethane (ME-GIE) unit followed in 2016 with sea-trials already in 2017. Currently, more than 240 dual-fuel engines have entered service, while an MAN B&W ammonia-fueled engine is due to be delivered to a shipyard by 2024. In total, low-speed, dual-fuel MAN B&W engine orders include: ME-GI (538); ME-GIE (37); ME-LGIM (72); ME-LGIP (139); and ME-GA (214). In breaking down the adopter of dual fuel technology, the pie chart is dominated by containerships and tankers, with a commanding 40% of the market apiece.

But today in Copenhagen at the MAN ES Research and Development Center, while there is still much attention paid to maximizing the efficiency, performance and slashing emissions of existing diesel and dual fuel powerplants, the future fuel discussion had turned squarely on two fuels: methanol and ammonia.Bjarne Foldager (left), SVP, head of two stroke business at MAN ES hosted Maritime Reporter in Copenhagen for a look behind the scenes at its ammonia engine test bed & facilities. Image courtesy MAN ES

Progress on ammonia…

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