MAN partners up to develop hydrogen-fueled medium-speed engine concepts

Written by Nick Blenkey
MAN is working on hydrogen-fueled medium-speed engines

Photo: MAN Energy Solutions

MAN Energy Solutions is partnering with industry leaders and research institutes in a project that will develop concepts for hydrogen-fueled medium-speed marine engines. Called “HydroPoLEn,” the project is supported and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. It aims to transform shipping propulsion systems and to develop key technologies such as injection, ignition and advanced tribology systems. Part of its remit is also to develop a concept for the integration of the power unit and fuel storage in a single system.

As well as challenges related to the combustion process, the project will also address engine efficiency, safety issues and the main steps involved in integrating the technology in ships. That integration is intended to enhance the efficiency, performance, and durability of a hydrogen-fueled engine, paving the way for sustainable propulsion in the maritime sector.

“Hydrogen plays a key role in MAN Energy Solutions’ strategy and is the base for carbon-free fuels such as hydrogen itself and ammonia, as well as synthetic carbon-neutral fuels like methane and methanol,” said Alexander Knafl, head of four-stroke R&D at MAN Energy Solutions.

He noted that MAN Energy Solutions’ product portfolio includes electrolyzers – through its subsidiary, H-TEC SYSTEMS – for the production of hydrogen based on green energy and that the company also has several products and key technologies for carbon capture and storage, for blue-hydrogen production and for the production of methanol, synthetic methane and ammonia.

“Furthermore, in our engine portfolio, hydrogen plays a major role,” he said. “After the release of our 25% hydrogen engines in 2021, a pure-hydrogen engine is the next logical step for us.”

Christian Kunkel, head of combustion development, four-stroke R&D at MAN Energy Solutions, said: “Hydrogen and ammonia are by far the two most promising carbon-free fuels with the advantage that their combustion produces absolutely no CO2-emissions. Hydrogen can be produced off a base of green energy and electrolysis – green hydrogen – or based off natural gas and carbon capture and storage, known as blue hydrogen; both production methods are climate-neutral. In the long run, we are convinced that green hydrogen will be the cheapest way to produce hydrogen. In the meantime, when the infrastructure and production capacity for green hydrogen are established, we will need a mix of green and blue hydrogen to decarbonize industry. As such, I am very happy to see the HydroPoLEn project started; the results I have seen so far and the collaboration with the partners look very promising.”

HydroPoLEn brings together the collective expertise and resources of industry leaders from the cruise sector (Carnival Maritime GmbH) and marine propulsion (MAN Energy Solutions SE), along with research institutes specializing in pioneering green energy solutions (WTZ Roßlau GmbH, NMA TUM) and a key-component supplier (Tenneco Inc.).

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