Several months back I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of the MAN Diesel ME-GI engine.
It is a electronically controlled engine designed to run on LNG.
During the launch they demonstrated the engine starting on fuel, changing over to gas operation, and then running up to full load.
Once at full load a gas leak was simulated to demonstrate the safety system. The engine switched within one or two revolutions from LNG operation to conventional fuel operation. the whole change was virtually unnoticable.
I have been trying for the last couple of days to reduce the the presentations and oher information that was handed out on the day, but have so far failed. Short of printing the documents and scanning at a lower resolution I am out of ideas.
The closest I can come is this link to a paper by MAN Diesel. http://mandieselturbo.com/files/news/filesof11537/LNG%20Carriers%20ME-GI%20Engine.htm.pdf
If you are interested to receive the documents PM me and I will e-mail them across.
When time allows I will send them to Martin for uploading on the the main website.
With regards to the future, the engine is definately ready, the infrasttructure ashore isnt there and wont be until they see demand. Ship owners wont order them, unless the infrastructure is there. So who will take the first step? Shipping companies or the fuel supliers?
There is still a huge amount of work to be done before we will see general commercial vessels sailing with LNG as a fuel.
The bunkering process and vapour recover, will every supplier take back vapour which may or may not be contaminated in your onboard tanks? What about tank location onboard, does it have to comply with the same regulations as a gas tanker? Training requirements for the crew and barge operators,
What about the bunkering operations, wil ports allow container vessels to load LNG whilst containers are dropping down onto the deck, will the ports close to citys and big populations allow vessels to bunker LNG alongside?
Will ships have to stop after cargo and load the fuel at a safe point far away from people or anything which could cause an explosion?
There are many vessels out there carrying more fuel than tankers which have to apply special standards.
We know how the US coastguard views LNG carriers, how are they goingto treat a standrad vessel with LNG tanks onboard?
Increasing fuel prices will be biggest driver in making this a viable option for most vessels, but only when other options have run out.
There are many questions, lots of suggestions but very few agreed solutions to this future fuel, for it to be anything but specialised for few more years yet.