APRIL 17, 2013—More than 100 prominent guests, including ship owners and operators from around the world, were on hand at Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. Tamano, Japan, for the full scale demonstration of the slow-speed, electronically controlled, gas injection ME-GI diesel engine that was able to switch seamlessly between burning fuel oil and natural gas.
The demonstration was carried out on the electronically controlled ME-GI in which the fuel system was temporarily converted to burn gas and conventional oil. The engine's owner Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, cooperated in the demonstration.
MES is a long-time licensed builder of MAN B&W engines. In 1926, MES Tamano completed its first license agreement with Burmeister & Wain of Denmark for the manufacture and sale of Mitsui B&W marine diesel engines. Since that time, it has built about 5,000 Mitsui B&W diesel engines of 80 million bhp. MES' experience with gas engines dates back to 1994. That year, it completed its power generation plant with slow-speed gas injection diesel engine (GIDE) in its Chiba Works.
Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) as a marine fuel has been gaining traction among ship operators because of the rising cost of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) and ever tightening diesel emissions regulations. Fuel has become the biggest expense for ship operators.
What's caught the attention of many vessel operators is that LNG is relatively inexpensive compared with HFO and clean burning—mitigating or eliminating NOx, SOx and particulate matter. Recent shale gas discoveries, particularly in North America, point to an abundant future supply. Switching to natural gas offers ship operators the ability to better the bottom line, as well as comply with stricter pending national, regional and international emission regulations.
Last year, NASSCO, San Diego, CA, signed a contract to build two 3,100-TEU containerships for TOTE that will be each be powered by a single MAN 8L70ME-GI dual fuel, slow-speed engine. TOTE has options to build up to three more of the containerships. The 764 ft ships will operate in the Jones Act trade between Jacksonville, FL, and San Juan, PR, and will have the ability to burn either HFO or LNG.
The ships are being designed by DSEC, an arm of Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. The ship will use DSME's LNG fuel system. The first ship will be delivered in 2015 and the second in 2016.
Teekay LNG Partners L.P., a subsidiary of Teekay Corporation, has placed an order for two 173,400 m3 LNG carriers that will each be outfitted with two 5G70ME-GI engines. Those ships will be delivered in the first half of 2016 and will be built by DSME.
For its part, MES introduced last July a next generation LNG carrier called the “Double Eco MAX” that will feature a single ME-GI engine and single-screw propulsion. The Double Eco MAX is being offered as either a 292.5m x 49m x 26.9m vessel with a cargo capacity of 165,000 m3 for New Panamax operation or a 300m x 52.5m x 28m vessel with capacity of 180,000 m3.