ME-GI engine nears market entry


MAN Diesel & Turbo's ME-GI gas engine has edged closer to commercial production with the news that two major industry players are interested in pushing the technology towards commercial maturity.

Following MAN Diesel & Turbo's second ME-GI test demonstration for customers in Copenhagen on 6 March, separate announcements were issued by Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding and the engine and machinery division of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI-EMD) that they intend to build prototypes of engine. Both companies intend to carry out full-scale demonstrations of the ME-GI principle based on the temporary conversion of existing production engines to ME-GI units. Hyundai intends to convert an 8S70ME-GI unit in November, while Mitsui will convert a 6S70ME-GI unit in the second quarter of 2013.

MAN Diesel & Turbo sees the announcement of 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 company also reports that test beds and ancillary gas-supply systems will also be available in time for ME-GI delivery.  

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.

The ME-GI engine 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 and owner preference. Indeed, Mitsui reports 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 percent reduction in fuel costs and CO2 emissions.

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