MAN Readies Methanol Retrofit Solutions

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MAN Energy Solutions announced that it will begin the development of retrofit solutions for medium-speed marine engines as part of a research association including WTZ Roßlau gGmbh and TU-Darmstadt.

The three-year research project titled “CliNeR-ECo”, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), kick-started in early 2023. 

The project seeks to develop concepts for medium-speed marine engines that will enable the retrofitting of entire ship fleets at reasonable economic and technical costs. The focus is methanol, a climate-neutral fuel, made from green hydrogen. The company is currently planning its first retrofit project based on a MAN 48/60 engine with the first retrofit of a fully functional test engine to be tested in 2024. 

These retrofit technologies will enable ship owners to comply with future emission targets for greenhouse gases to be introduced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the EU from 2025 onwards.

Head of R&D Four-Stroke Engines at MAN Energy Solutions Alexander Knafl, said: “MAN Energy Solutions is pursuing this project in close alignment with its own strategy for developing sustainable technologies and welcomes the opportunity to work with external research partners. For us, the path to the decarbonization of the maritime economy begins with the switch to climate-neutral fuels. In this context, methanol is an excellent candidate as it is climate-neutral when produced from green hydrogen.”

Head of Combustion Development, R&D Four-Stroke Engines at MAN Energy Solutions, Christian Kunkel, added: “Electrification of the maritime industry is only possible in niche segments but not in so-called ‘long-distance shipping’. Energy sources such as carbon-neutral methanol and ammonia will therefore play a prominent role in the maritime sector in the future. Methanol is an ideal fuel for converting engines on existing ships and methanol tanks can usually be integrated into existing ship designs without too much trouble, while engine conversion costs can be kept within reasonable limits. Thus, with climate-neutral methanol production, the climate effect of the maritime industry can be improved very quickly while dispensing with the need for newbuilding construction. This is a crucial point as ship lifespans can last several decades in some cases and newbuildings demand a lot of resources.”

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