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Why MAN sees engine modernization as key to decarbonizing shipping


Written by

Nick Blenkey


MAN Energy Solutions says the already proven dual-fuel retrofits to its MAN B&W low-speed engines could deliver massive potential emissions savings by enabling existing vessels to burn carbon-neutral fuels.

The company says the modular design of its low-speed, conventional-fuel ME-C engine portfolio lends itself to numerous retrofit options when it comes to alternative green fuels, and that these retrofits are already proven to work.

Thomas Hansen, Head of Promotion and Customer Support at MAN Energy Solutions, said: “At MAN Energy Solutions, we design and service many low-speed engines in the global fleet, contributing to global CO2 emissions. As a result, we feel a great responsibility to pursue decarbonisation and are therefore delighted that many sources are predicting that more than half of all new buildings will specify dual-fuel engines after 2025. Given that ships have a average life of about 25 years, modernization of ships will be necessary for the industry to decarbonize.

As demand for engines and vessels designated as “future fuel ready” grows, MAN Energy Solutions aftermarket division, MAN PrimeServ, can look to a unique and proven track record of alternative fuel conversions and has already made 16, the first dating from 2015.

According to the company, all of its conventionally fueled ME-C low-speed engines ordered today can be converted to alternative fuels in the future when the future fuel landscape becomes clearer.

There are several options for retrofit conversion of ME-C engines, including -GI (LNG), -GIE (ethane), -LGIP (LPG) and -LGIM (methanol) variants. In the meantime, MAN is working to be able to offer a retrofit option using ammonia as fuel and aims to meet five-year vessel berthing schedules after the first quarter of 2025.


“Many of the vessels in the current ocean fleet have conversion potential, and our extensive and ever-expanding portfolio of dual-fuel engines offers many options for retrofitting,” said Klaus Rasmussen, Head of Projects and PVU Sales, MAN PrimeServ. “The huge market potential within, for example, S/G50, G95 and G80 bores for methanol conversion operating as ME-LGIM units is particularly noteworthy.”

Engine designs from MAN Energy Solutions currently power some 22,000 vessels worldwide, 3,500 of which are fully electronically controlled and with the potential to be converted to run on alternative green fuels. The company has further assessed that approximately 2,300 of these vessels are suitable candidates for modernization, saving up to 86 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year when powered by fuels carbon neutral.


“Today, ship owners trust us when ordering our proven dual-fuel technology,” Hansen said. “However, they also trust our conventional fuel engines, knowing that we can convert them to run on any future fuel that may be relevant in 5-10 years. A recent and striking example of this is our successful modernization work for the BW LPG fleet.

In December 2020, Oslo-listed BW LPG – the world’s largest owner and operator of LPG vessels – announced that it would upgrade three more MAN B&W 6G60ME-C9.2 type engines to dual-fuel MAN B&W 6G60ME-C9.5-LGIP types, capable of running on fuel oil and LPG. This brought the number of such conversions announced by the company to 15, all to be carried out by MAN PrimeServ.

Commenting on BW LPG’s choice to modernize rather than construct new buildings, Pontus Berg, Executive Vice President, Technical and Operations, LPG, said: “Modernization allows us to minimize our carbon footprint – the process emits up to 97% less carbon dioxide compared to new construction. Retrofitting also means we’re not adding extra tonnage that the world doesn’t need. In addition, BW LPG’s fleet is already widely recognized among charterers for its efficiency, and so upgrading its vessels to dual-fuel LPG will help further strengthen the company’s strong reputation in this area.

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