Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems has started developing mtu engines to operate on methanol in an effort to promote greener shipping.

The new high-speed four-stroke engines will be built on mtu technologies.

Methanol, unlike ammonia, is safe for environment and not toxic in nature.

In a pure methanol engine, methanol’s combustion can be climate-neutral with lower nitrogen oxide discharges.

As a result, the need for SCR exhaust gas aftertreatment is not required.

Methanol tanks, which require less safety measures compared to ammonia or hydrogen, can be fitted ‘flexibly’ onboard vessels. 

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In addition, it reduces the cost of investment for users and is suitable for usage with emission-free fuel cells as well as combustion engines (both Diesel and Otto).

Rolls-Royce will launch the new generation of mtu Series 2000 and 4000 engines in 2023.

These engines will operate with green fuels, including synthetic diesel (second generation biofuels or e-diesel).

The firm is also developing new ship solutions such as CO2-free fuel cell systems.

All these initiatives are being executed under Rolls-Royce Power Systems’ sustainability programme “Net Zero at Power Systems”.

Rolls-Royce Power Systems technology management and regulatory affairs Daniel Chatterjee said: “On the road to climate neutrality, there will not be one technology and one fuel that is the best solution for all applications.

“Rather, there will be a coexistence of different propulsion technologies and fuels. Hydrogen, for example, which is converted into energy in a fuel cell or even in a combustion engine, will be as much an issue for us and our customers as e-methanol, e-methane, e-diesel or e-ammonia.”

In September this year, Sea Machines Robotics teamed up with Rolls-Royce to deliver autonomous vessel control systems.