Japan’s Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding (MES) has completed manufacturing the world’s first ME-GIE ethane-operated two-stroke diesel engine for use in liquefied ethylene gas (LEG) carriers at the company’s facility in Tamano Works shipyard.

The newly unveiled engine, Mitsui-MAN B&W 7G50ME-C9.5-GIE, is a part of a series of three engines to be installed in three LEG carriers for Germany’s Hartmann Schiffahrt and Norway’s Ocean Yield.

The LEG carriers, with 36,000m³ capacity, are currently being built at Sinopacific Offshore Engineering (SOE) in China.  

"MAN Diesel & Turbo aims to provide various positive attributes through the company’s MAN B&W low-speed engines."

MAN Diesel & Turbo, which currently has eight ME-GIE engines on order, noted that it has selected ethane as a fuel because of its more competitive pricing, as well as the shorter bunkering time it requires.

Compared to other heavy fuel oil (HFO), ethane’s emissions profile is better and contains minimal sulphur, as well as 15%-20% lower CO2 levels

The new ME-GI engine, which uses high-pressure gas injection, will offer ship owners and operators the choice of using fuel or gas on their carriers, depending on relative price and availability.

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With the high-pressure gas injected in the new engine, MAN Diesel & Turbo aims to provide various positive attributes through the company’s MAN B&W low-speed engines, which are already in use by several maritime businesses.

MAN Diesel & Turbo has also ordered an ME-LGI counterpart that uses LPG methanol and other liquid gasses.

So far, ME-GI engines have been designed for use by different types of fuel and the newly designed ME-GI engine uses ethane that is one of the natural-gas liquids (NGLs), which occur naturally and are found in natural gas.

The ethylene gas carriers, which have insulated 5% nickel-steel cargo tanks, can carry most liquefied gas cargoes up to a maximum specific gravity of 1.8, at temperatures ranging from -104°C to +80°C.

Image: The Mitsui-MAN B&W 7G50ME-C9.5-GIE at Mitsui’s Tamano Works.