Qatari shipping company Nakilat and Qatari LNG producers Qatargas and RasGas Company Limited have agreed with engine manufacturer MAN Diesel and Turbo to convert a Q-Max vessel to use LNG as an alternative to heavy fuel oil in the main engines.
The proactive initiative reinforces Qatar's commitment toward the environment with plans to convert an existing low-speed diesel LNG carrier to use LNG as fuel thereby reducing the ship's exhaust gas emissions.
Shipyard operator Nakilat-Keppel Offshore & Marine (N-KOM) will complete the ship's conversion at its Erhama Bin Jaber Al Jalahma Shipyard facilities in Qatar's Port of Ras Laffan. The modification will utilize MAN Diesel and Turbo's ME-GI (M-Type Electronically Controlled - Gas Injection) systems as an innovative and flexible technology.
The Q-Max will be the world's first low-speed marine diesel engine to be converted to use LNG as a fuel. The modification will meet current known and future stated global emissions regulations.
The control of greenhouse gas and exhaust gas emissions have a high priority in today's shipping industry. In-step with the emissions regulations, the engine manufacturer, MAN Diesel and Turbo has made technical advancements to the low speed diesel engine to have flexibility to utilize Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), a cleaner fuel as compared to heavy fuel oil, as an alternative fuel source employing the ME-GI (M-Type Electronically Controlled - Gas Injection) concept. Evaluation of the proposed ME-GI design for the Q-Flex and Q-Max vessels has concluded in a high confidence level with regards to safety and reliability of the propulsion system.
This project is yet another milestone in Qatar's standing as a reliable provider of clean energy to its customers in a safe and environmentally-sensitive manner and further evidence of Qatar's proactive approach to the sustainable development of the country's marine industry. So far the use of LNG as a bunker fuel source in the LNG shipping industry has been applied to conventional steam driven LNG carriers and more recently to Dual or Tri-Fuel Diesel Electric LNG ships with low pressure injected, medium speed four-stroke diesels.
The use of ME-GI as an alternative will allow a cleaner fuel technology with a significant reduction in environmental emissions, cleaner burning engines with potential to increase mean time between maintenance, provide flexibility of fuel supply to react to market changes and reduced bunkering activities which in turn will offer operations and marine risk reduction.