In an interview with media outlet TradeWinds, MAN ES has indicated that a detailed testing program for its two-stroke marine ammonia engine began last week. The test engine has one of four cylinders retrofitted for running on ammonia fuel, and MAN aims to collect a significant amount of data during the program. The data includes an analysis on the amount of pilot fuel required for ammonia combustion, the emissions profile of the engine and what extra safety systems will be required.
MAN’s testing center is located in a built-up Copenhagen neighborhood, meaning that “safety is paramount”, and extensive safety systems needed to be installed. Speaking to TradeWinds, MAN ES executive Brian Sorenson describes the learning curve the organisation went through to begin testing, a process that will need to be repeated when training & familiarising on-board and shore crew to work with ammonia fuel:
Over the last three years that we have worked on this, we have moved from a position where we were afraid of ammonia and now we have learned much and built the system. We have a lot of respect for ammonia. We know it is a safety hazard. It is not something we should take lightly. But we have learned that it can be handled.Brian Sorensen, Vice President and Head of R&D (Two-stroke Business) at MAN ES in “MAN Energy Solutions reveals ammonia engine breakthrough in ‘911 call’ to IMO”, TradeWinds 6 July 2023
MAN’s timeline for ammonia engine development remains unchanged. By 2024, its first dual-fueled ammonia engine will be ready, and installed on a commercial vessel in 2026. In 2025, a retrofit package will be available for commercial vessels to run on ammonia and other alternative fuels. Also by 2025 MAN expects that – after the just-begun testing program concludes – its test engine will be rebuilt, optimised and ready to run on 100% ammonia fuel. This will catalyze the manufacturing of newbuild, ammonia-fueled engines.
Engine momentum builds
Earlier this year, Wärtsilä presented learnings from its four-stroke engine testing program in an episode of Maritime Ammonia Insights. In May, IHI Corporation and NYK Line announced a four-stroke test engine had been successfully run on 80% ammonia fuel in Japan. WinGD will deploy its ammonia dual-fuel engines on-board vessels in partnership with both Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and CMB. And a series of new reports focused on safe onboard operations has identified key gaps to be addressed, most notably human factors, warning systems, and a lack of industry standards on ammonia fuel.