MAN ES unveils 2025 ammonia retrofit target

MAN ES plans to deliver the first ammonia-fuelled variant of its ME-LGIP engine by 2024 (Image: MAN Energy Solutions)MAN ES plans to deliver the first ammonia-fuelled variant of its ME-LGIP engine by 2024 (Image: MAN Energy Solutions)

MAN Energy Solutions plans to introduce a retrofit package for its ammonia-fuelled engine by 2025, the company announced in a presentation yesterday.

“We are working to have a package ready for retrofits by early 2025, approximately one year after the first ammonia engine is delivered to the yard,” Brian Østergaard Sørensen, Vice President, Head of R&D 2-Stroke Business, at MAN Energy Solutions announced.

The retrofit solution is intended to meet demand for low-carbon solutions to meet the targets set by IMO and some shipowners. Meeting such targets will require solutions to be developed for existing ships, Sørensen noted.

The introduction of a retrofit solution that offers full fuel flexibility would offer shipowners peace of mind, eliminating the risk that assets may become stranded in the future. Similar retrofit packages were already available or under development for MAN ES’ other dual-fuel solutions.

Sørensen acknowledged that regulatory obstacles, ammonia availability (and price) and infrastructure were key constraints to the introduction of ammonia engines.

“We strongly believe that CO2 pricing will need to be in place to drive the development of the ammonia engine,” Sørensen said.

The existing regulatory regime governing the transportation of toxic products, the IMO International Gas Carrier Code (IGC), and the International Code of Safety for Ship Using Gases or Other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code) would both need to be developed to permit the use of ammonia, Sørensen noted.

The upgrade package will be aimed at MAN ES’ existing ME-C, ME-LGIP and ME-LGI engines, and will draw on MAN ES’ existing modular engine design philosophy. “We want to retain the modules and architecture of existing engine platforms as far as possible, only touching on the components needed.”

The advantages of such a modular approach include improved efficiency and a reduction in cost, Sørensen noted.

Unique features of ammonia engine

While the engine builds on the existing architecture of the MAN B&W ME-LGIP engine, the engine design features several unique features.

While combustion with pilot fuel injection successfully overcomes the hydrogen carrier’s poor combustion characteristics, MAN is experimenting with other means of reducing the emissions associated with pilot fuel ratios of up to 20%.

One of the solutions under consideration was replacing the pilot fuel with a carbon neutral fuel – or by injecting small amounts of hydrogen as an accelerant in the combustion chamber.

As expected, safety issues were among MAN ES’s highest priorities. “Our priority is to ensure that we can purge and vent the engines in a safe manner”. This includes the elimination of ammonia slip when using the nitrogen purging system.

Sørensen added that the engine would require SCR aftertreatment. However, an area of ongoing research was how to prevent NO and NO2 forming of N2O, nitrous oxide. “Processes exist in the chemical industry to eliminate N2O, but use higher temperatures in the treatment of offgases than exist after our engines.”

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