Methanol Fired Marine Diesel Engine. Methanol is a promising alternative fuel for marine applications, as it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. Methanol is also widely available, easy to handle, and compatible with existing infrastructure. However, methanol has some challenges, such as its low energy density, high toxicity, and low flash point.
Methanol Fired Marine Diesel Engine
To overcome these challenges, MAN Energy Solutions has developed a dual-fuel engine that can run on both methanol and conventional diesel fuel. The engine is called ME-LGIM (Liquid Gas Injection Methanol) and it is based on the proven ME-series of two-stroke engines that work according to the Diesel principle.
The ME-LGIM engine uses a diesel pilot injection for ignition of the methanol-air mixture in the cylinder. The methanol is stored in liquid form at ambient conditions and injected into the engine through a high-pressure pump and specially designed injectors. The engine can switch between methanol and diesel modes seamlessly, depending on the availability and price of the fuels.
The ME-LGIM engine offers several advantages for ship owners and operators. It can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 25%, NOx emissions by up to 30%, SOx emissions by almost 100%, and particulate matter emissions by up to 95%, compared to conventional diesel engines. It can also use bio-methanol or e-methanol, which are carbon-neutral fuels derived from renewable sources.
The ME-LGIM engine has been successfully tested and installed on several vessels, such as container ships, tankers, bulk carriers, and ferries. MAN Energy Solutions has also received orders for the world’s largest methanol-fueled engines, the MAN B&W 8G95ME-LGIM, which will power eight 16,000-teu container ships for A.P. Møller – Maersk.
The ME-LGIM engine is a milestone in the development of future fuels for the maritime industry. It demonstrates that methanol is a viable and competitive option for reducing emissions and achieving decarbonization goals. MAN Energy Solutions is committed to providing innovative solutions that meet the needs and expectations of its customers and stakeholders.
Challenges with methanol as a Fuel
Methanol is a liquid fuel that can be produced from various sources, such as natural gas, coal, biomass, or even carbon dioxide and water. Methanol has some advantages over conventional fuels, such as lower pollutant emissions, higher octane rating, and compatibility with existing infrastructure. Methanol can also be used to power fuel cells, which are more efficient and cleaner than internal combustion engines. However, methanol also faces some challenges that limit its widespread adoption as a fuel for transportation and other applications. Some of these challenges are:
– Availability: Methanol is not as widely available as gasoline or diesel in most regions of the world. The production of methanol from renewable sources is still limited by the availability and cost of feedstocks, such as biomass or carbon dioxide. The distribution and storage of methanol also require special precautions, such as corrosion-resistant materials and ventilation systems, to prevent leakage and fire hazards.
– Cost: Methanol is generally more expensive than gasoline or diesel on a per-unit-energy basis. The cost of methanol depends on the feedstock, the production process, the location, and the market conditions. The cost of sustainably produced methanol, which has lower greenhouse gas emissions than fossil-based methanol, is even higher due to the additional energy and capital requirements.
– Safety: Methanol is a toxic and flammable substance that poses health and environmental risks if not handled properly. Methanol can cause blindness or death if ingested or inhaled in large quantities. Methanol can also contaminate water sources or soil if spilled or leaked. Methanol has a low flash point and can ignite easily in the presence of oxygen and an ignition source. Methanol flames are also difficult to see in daylight, which increases the risk of fire accidents.
– Performance: Methanol has a lower energy density than gasoline or diesel, which means that more methanol is needed to achieve the same driving range or power output. Methanol also has a lower cetane number than diesel, which affects the ignition quality and combustion efficiency of methanol in diesel engines. Methanol can also cause corrosion or degradation of some engine components or fuel system materials if not blended with appropriate additives.
These challenges can be overcome by developing more efficient and cost-effective methods of producing methanol from renewable sources, improving the infrastructure and regulations for methanol distribution and storage, enhancing the safety and awareness of methanol handling and use, and optimizing the engine design and performance for methanol operation. Methanol has the potential to be a viable alternative fuel for various applications if these challenges are addressed.