New MTU gas marine engine completes 3,000 hours on test bench

Mtu Gas Engine Testbench 1

(FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany) — The new MTU gas marine engine, the first from Rolls-Royce, has successfully completed 3,000 hours on the test bench.

“We can now confirm that the engine meets both our requirements and those of our customers. Its performance and its acceleration behavior are similar to the excellent characteristics of a diesel engine. It is economical, reliable and clean,” said Dr. Ulrich Dohle, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG. As of 2018, Rolls-Royce will deliver the first certified series production gas engines for commercial vessels. The MTU brand is part of Rolls-Royce Power Systems.

“We are convinced that gas engines will become increasingly more important as supplements to our proven diesel engines for marine applications," Dohle said. "Natural gas is an important fuel of the future. It will be available longer, it is cheaper to obtain in many regions of the world and has a better environmental footprint than heavy oil or diesel.”

Future emission regulations will demand even more environmentally friendly propulsion systems than are currently available. In the case of the gas engine, health-threatening substances in the exhaust gas have been reduced by 80 to 100 percent compared with the diesel engine and greenhouse gases by up to 11 percent. The new MTU gas engine will meet the IMO III emission standards in force since 2016 with no additional exhaust gas treatment required.

The 16-cylinder gas engine will cover a power range from 1,500 to 2,000 kW and will be based on MTU’s proven 16V 4000 M63 diesel engine for workboats. As of the end of 2017, the first series engines will be used to power a tug built by Damen Shipyards for Svitzer towage and salvage company. The two companies have entered into collaboration with MTU to jointly put the world‘s first tug powered by high-speed gas engines into service. It is to feature high performance in addition to reduced fuel costs and emissions. As a result of their dynamic acceleration behavior, their low environmental impact, reliability and economy, the new MTU gas engines are ideally suited to tugboats, ferries, push boats and special purpose vessels such as research vessels.

The gas engine portfolio will initially be supplemented by an eight-cylinder engine, which is to be available on the market with a power range of 750 to 1,000 kW. As of 2019, this MTU gas engine is to provide the propulsion for a new Lake Constance ferry operated by the local public utility, Stadtwerke Konstanz, which will ply between the two Lake Constance towns of Constance and Meersburg. The new ferry will be one of the first in Europe to be powered by a high-speed pure-gas engine. It is to feature low emissions and improved economy while delivering the customary high performance.  

The new MTU gas engines will be equipped with a multipoint gas injection system, a dynamic motor management system and an advanced turbocharger. The multipoint gas injection system is designed to provide the engine’s dynamic acceleration behavior, increased performance and reduced emissions. The competition concept ensures that the IMO III emission standards are met without the need for additional exhaust gas treatment. Controlled combustion ensures that fuel is used efficiently. The safety concept, which has been optimized for gas operation, includes double-walled gas supply lines, which means that no additional complex safety precautions are required in the engine room. On the test bench, it was possible to simulate real-life maneuvers, which represented the dynamic acceleration behavior of a diesel engine.

In its development of the new gas marine engine, MTU has benefited from the 30 years’ experience it has gained to date with stationary gas engines for power generation and the experience available within the Rolls-Royce Group, which has equipped ferries with medium-speed pure-gas propulsion systems for 10 years.

By Professional Mariner Staff