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INCORPORATING

MAN TO RETROFIT FEEDER SHIP FOR SYNTHETIC LNG FUEL

Thursday, November 7, 2019 

MAN Energy Solutions and Wessels Marine have announced that the ‘Wes Amelie’, a 1,036-teu feeder container ship, will trial the use of liquefied SNG (Synthetic Natural Gas) produced from renewable electrical energy as drop-in fuel.

The companies are cooperating on the Wes Amelie project with Nauticor, the LNG transportation company, and Unifeeder, the charter company.

To demonstrate that SNG can successfully be used as shipping fuel, 20 of the 120 tons of LNG that the Wes Amelie typically uses per round trip will be replaced by climate-neutral SNG. As a result, CO2 emissions are expected to decline by 56 tons for the voyage.

Automobile manufacturer Audi’s Power-to-Gas facility in Werlte, where a liquefaction plant is currently under construction, will provide the SNG, which will be generated by wind energy and is thus 100% climate-neutral. The SNG trip will take place after the completion of the liquefaction plant in Q2 2020.

The Wes Amelie, owned and managed by Wessels Reederei (Haren/Ems), had its MAN 8L48/60B main engine retrofitted in 2017 to its current, four-stroke MAN 51/60DF unit that enables dual-fuel operation – the first such conversion of its type.

Stefan Eefting, Head of MAN PrimeServ, Augsburg, said: “This is another important milestone and proof of concept for the Maritime Energy Transition, the initiative we have been driving since 2016. We strongly believe that a roadmap based on LNG and SNG as fuels can lead the way to a decarbonised future for shipping and, in Wessels Marine, we have the perfect partner.”

“The Wes Amelie project has always been about demonstrating the technologically doable while pointing out the regulatory actions necessary to make it possible,” said Christian Hoepfner, Managing Owner of Wessels Marine, Hamburg. “The initial retrofit to LNG took support from the German Government to be financially viable, but it was a huge success for the environment in that it drastically reduced emissions. As a consequence, there now is a retrofit programme in place to make more retrofits happen. In another world-first, we will now demonstrate that SNG can successfully be used to reduce harmful emissions even further as the fuel is climate-neutral. However the costs are still way too high. Going forward, governments and regulators will have to work together to make this a viable and available option for ship owners.” 

Eefting added: “To bring down future emissions generated in the global-trade supply chain, synthetic fuels play a crucial role. Especially in shipping, the use of batteries alone is not a viable option and any successful decarbonisation efforts need to address the fuel.”

MAN Energy Solutions commissioned the Werlte-based methanation plant, in partnership with Audi, in 2013. While the 6 MW methanation unit is still the largest of its kind in Europe today, MAN now offers a 50 MW EPC Power-to-X solution to ramp up the generation of synthetic fuel: “We need Power-to-X out of the labs and into the market in order to produce more competitive, renewable fuels by using scaling effects”, said Eefting.

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