At an exclusive briefing in Copenhagen, shipowner BW LPG and engine major MAN Energy Solutions jointly announced the first retrofit orders for the new MAN B&W ME-LGIP LPG-powered engine.
Four MAN B&W 6G60ME-C9.2 HFO-burning engines will be replaced with 6G60ME-C9.5-LGIP LPG-propelled dual-fuel engines. BW LPG expects the first retrofitting to take place in conjunction with scheduled drydockings, starting 2020. There are options for further retrofits in the future.
The contract is the culmination of years of close co-operation between the two parties according to BW LPG’s senior vice president of technical and operations Pontus Berg. Mr Berg said the order is a vital strand in the company’s 2020 compliance strategy and spoke approvingly of LPG as an environmentally sound, cheap and plentiful fuel source.
Elaborating on the retrofit potential of the new MAN B&W ME-LGIP engine, MAN Energy Solutions chief sales officer Wayne Jones said that while the most obvious candidates were LPG carriers it was suited to other vessels types. The key requirement is having the supporting infrastructure and supply chain in place.
“The LPG supply chain has been available for many years as there is a substantial network of smaller LPG carriers below 6,000 m3 of LPG. There are however more than 3,000 vessels, including other tanker types with an ME-C engine with a bore size of 50 and upwards, that could be converted for operation on alternative fuels, including LPG.”
This has been something of a landmark year for LPG-burning dual-fuel engines. In March, Belgian operator Exmar selected MAN LPG-burning, dual-fuel engines to propel a pair of VLGCs on order at the Subic Bay yard of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction in the Philippines.
Given the concentration of LPG operators at the briefing, it seems likely that MAN Energy Solutions’ growing reference list of owners opting for gas-powered engines powered by the vessel’s own cargo will only increase. One operator at the briefing privately confirmed that the technical details (linked to engine bore size) of an order were being finalised. The combination of future proofing the vessel environmentally against EEDI and the 2020 sulphur cap, the free availability of the fuel, ease of bunkering and economics made the case irresistible.
MAN expects the ME-LGIP engine (the ‘P’ stands for propane) will soon be able to operate on 3% pilot oil and down to 10% load. The company’s engineers predict that eventually the engine will not require pilot oil.
• Riviera Maritime Media head of content Edwin Lampert will be chairing the MAN Energy Solutions SMM Forum 2018 taking place this week.