MAN reaches milestone with successful test of a two-stroke ammonia ship engine Ship’s crew

MAN Energy Solutions has announced the successful first test of a two-stroke marine engine with ammonia fuel. This marks an important milestone in the development of a fully fledged ammonia engine that aims to help decarbonize the marine market.

The test took place at the company’s research center in Copenhagen (RCC) with a MAN B&W two-stroke type 4T50ME-X. The company reported positive results with encouraging pilot oil flow and combustion stability data.

Gunnar Stiesch, Chief Technical Officer at MAN Energy Solutions, said the test is an important milestone on the way to developing a fully fledged two-stroke ammonia marine engine

“It has been a historic week for our team at RCC, in which a lot of preliminary work and research has now paid off and we have gained a deep understanding of the unique properties of ammonia as a marine fuel and its impact on fuel supply and safety systems. “This successful burn represents another important step in decarbonizing the shipping market and bringing big things to zero,” said Stiesch.

MAN Energy Solutions prioritized safety when developing the ammonia engine, including a bespoke ‘cold store’ and robust safety features from its existing dual-fuel portfolio.

Brian Østergaard Sørensen, vice president and head of research and development for two-stroke engines at MAN ES, said there was still work to be done, including conducting a test program covering aspects such as heat release, ignition, safety, pilot oil energy fraction, NOx and N2O emissions .

“We then plan to convert the test engine from a cylinder that can run on ammonia to a fully-fledged test engine on ammonia towards the end of this year or early 2024,” he said.

MAN ES aims to have its first operational ammonia engine on a merchant ship by 2026.

“MAN B&W’s first ammonia engine will be a 60-bore engine that will be applicable to a wide variety of ship types,” said Thomas S. Hansen, Head of Promotion and Customer Care at MAN ES. “There is a lot of interest in this engine and we have received many inquiries for practically all large merchant ships.”

He said the company expects a “rapid introduction” of ammonia-powered engines later in the decade.

The MAN Ammonia project started in 2019 with a study on the combustibility of ammonia. In 2021, safety-oriented ammonia fuel supply and auxiliary systems were specified and installed at RCC for testing. Ammonia bunker and service tank facilities were built that year with full ammonia containment in the event of a leak.

“Now it’s up to the International Maritime Organization to put in place clear regulations that ensure maritime players are not penalized for opting for carbon-neutral fuels,” said Bjarne Foldager, head of two-stroke business at MAN ES. “At MAN Energy Solutions, our expectations for ammonia are positive due to the projected lower production costs compared to other relevant e-fuels. We predict that by 2050, around 27% of the fuel used on board large merchant ships will be ammonia.”

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