Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bulk Freight and Container Shipping Giant Trials LNG Engine

MOL to Conduct Tests with Gas Fuel
Shipping News Feature

JAPAN – Never slow where innovation is concerned liner group Mitsui OSK Lines has announced that together with Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co (MES) it will conduct a gas injection demonstration run utilizing a temporarily modified electrically-controlled type slow speed diesel engine. The container and bulk freight shipping group announced some months ago it was intending to launch an experimental electrically powered car carrier in June this year and we have reported other fuel saving innovations from MOL such as their experiments with low friction hull paints.

This latest venture employs an engine designed, manufactured and delivered to a shipyard with oil injection specifications for one of the MOL new build vessels, however during manufacture it will be temporarily modified to an electrically-controlled gas injection duel fuel slow speed diesel engine. The engine will be run with vaporized LNG at MES Tamano Works in the first half of 2013.

Gas burning technology has been developed and accumulated in MES through electric power generation work carried out on slow speed Gas Injection Diesel Engines (GIDE) at its Chiba Works. GIDE technology will be combined with latest and proven electrically controlled slow speed diesel engine.

Slow speed diesels have to be proportionately larger, especially when fuelled by LNG which produces less energy than conventional bunker fuel. The engineers will have to conquer other problems such as the cryogenic storage of the fuel itself but with the facilities available to them and with the expertise MES has been accumulating we wouldn’t bet against their success at a time when the uncertainty surrounding conventional fuel supplies and prices is bothering every liner operator.

LNG has recently been highlighted as one of the potential propulsion fuels for future ship design and MOL will start to investigate adoption of the demonstration gas injection technology to future vessels, along with its Sempaku ISHIN project, one of the environmental strategies in its midterm management plan ‘GEAR UP! MOL’.

Photo: A giant MAN slow speed diesel giving an idea of the scope of such equipment.