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Wednesday, April 17, 2019 

Alfa Laval says that as the marine industry embraces a growing range of alternative fuels, including LPG and ammonia, the company is committed to providing the advanced fuel systems needed for engine protection and efficiency.

In partnership with MAN Energy Solutions, the Alfa Laval Fuel Conditioning Module (FCM) LPG has undergone successful tests with the first two-stroke, high-pressure marine engine to use LPG as fuel – and has been evaluated for use with ammonia. The company says that the competitiveness of LPG as a fuel is increasing. Not only does LPG virtually eliminate sulphur emissions, it has a lower cost than many other fuels and is easily available worldwide. For these reasons and others, MAN Energy Solutions has developed the new LPG-fuelled MAN B&W ME-LGIP marine engine. Alfa Laval, having successfully provided fuel boosters for the first methanol-fuelled chemical tankers, was selected as partner to develop, supply and test the engine’s low-flashpoint fuel supply system (LFSS).

“Given our previous work with MAN Energy Solutions in the area of low-flashpoint fuels, we were well acquainted with the specific challenges involved,” said Roberto Comelli (pictured), Global Sales Manager Fuel Conditioning Systems at Alfa Laval. “Naturally, we were eager to continue our partnership and to build on the positive experience with methanol.”

The resulting booster system, the Alfa Laval Fuel Conditioning Module (FCM) LPG, provides LPG to a high-pressure combustion engine for marine applications. Compared to methanol, LPG must be pumped at a higher supply pressure in order to avoid phase changes and to deal with a wide composition spectrum. To deliver LPG at the 53 barg pressure the engine requires, the FCM LPG incorporates new pumping technology and high-pressure heat exchange, built into low-pressure and high-pressure skids. The latter has a filtration stage comprising two independent chambers, which allows it to be serviced with the system in continuous operation – a setup derived directly from the booster experience with methanol. Equally critical is the new automation and control system, which matches the LPG flow to fluctuating engine load without unnecessary heat input from the pumping and flashing of light fractions in the LPG.

“On board, the FCM LPG will be run from the engine control room by the same people who usually deal with traditional fuels and equipment,” said Comelli.

An additional feature of the FCM LPG is its LPG recovery function, which provides full liquid LPG recovery and partial LPG gas recovery when the engine or fuel valve train is purged. Recovering LPG rather than fully venting it to atmosphere is more than just economical.

Ahead, the companies even see possibilities for the FCM LPG as a booster for ammonia. “We at MAN Energy Solutions see a strong potential in the use of ammonia as fuel,” said René Sejer Laursen, Promotion Manager at MAN Energy Solutions. “The FCM LPG has already been evaluated for the purpose, and we’ve seen that it can be made compatible with ammonia for only a small investment.”

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