MTU had presented its mobile gas engines for marine propulsion applications for the first time at the SMM International Maritime Trade Fair in September 2016. The engines meanwhile have successfully completed well over 5,000 hours on the test bench. The future mobile gas engines from MTU have met with enormous interest worldwide. The first pre-production marine engines of this type will be delivered at the end of 2017 to Strategic Marine’s shipyard in Vietnam, which will install them in catamarans for the Netherlands-based shipping company Rederij Doeksen. The shipping company will operate the catamarans for its ferry services on the North Sea in the ecologically sensitive Wadden Sea. The first certified series-production gas engines are scheduled to leave the factory as of 2018. Damen Shipyards are to equip a new harbour tug with the new engines and the local public utility in Constance, Stadtwerke Konstanz, will take delivery of the first engines of the 8-cylinder version for a new Lake Constance ferry at the end of 2018.
The new 16-cylinder gas engine from MTU is based on MTU’s proven 16V 4000 M63 diesel engine for workboats and will cover a power range from around 1,500 to 2,000 kW. An 8-cylinder version will follow with a rated output of approximately 750 to 1,000 kW. The new gas engine is ideally suited to tugboats, ferries, push boats and special purpose vessels such as research vessels.
Dynamics and performance similar to a diesel engine
Right from the very beginning, the focus of the development work was on fuel consumption, emissions, safety and acceleration. The new MTU gas engines subsequently incorporate a multipoint gas injection system, a dynamic motor management system and an advanced turbocharger. The multipoint gas injection system is designed to optimise the engine’s dynamic acceleration behaviour, increase performance and reduce emissions. The combustion concept ensures that IMO III emission standards are met with no additional exhaust gas aftertreatment. Controlled combustion also ensures that fuel is used efficiently. As a result of the double-walled design of the gas supply system, the engine room can be arranged in much the same way as for a diesel system. On the test bench, the simulation of real-life manoeuvres has demonstrated that the dynamic acceleration behaviour is similar to that of a diesel engine. Over 5,000 successfully completed hours on the test bench have shown that, in terms of reliability, the gas engine is on a par with MTU’s proven Series 4000 diesel engine.
Gas engine is part of MTU’s Green and High-Tech Programme
Compared with a diesel engine, the gas engine emits no soot particles and no sulphur oxides, 90 per cent less NOx and 5 to 10 per cent less greenhouse gas. It thus meets the IMO III emission standards in force since 2016 with no additional exhaust gas aftertreatment. In technical terms, the engines are also compatible with EU Stage V and EPA Tier IV (USA) regulations. Depending on the market demand, the gas engines will also be certified for EUV or EPA Tier IV.
The new gas engine is part of MTU’s Green and High-Tech Programme. As such, MTU is making a targeted investment in environmentally friendly solutions of the future aimed at reducing pollutant emissions and the consumption of energy and raw materials. MTU’s Green and High-Tech Programme focuses on exhaust gas aftertreatment, alternative fuels, electrification, digitisation and overall system capability – in other words, on complete drive, propulsion and power generation systems.
In developing the new marine gas engine, MTU has benefited from over 30 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of stationary gas engines for power generation to date and from the experience available within the Rolls-Royce Group, which has equipped ferries with medium-speed pure gas propulsion systems for some10 years.