World’s 1st Ethane Fuel Conversion Completed on Board Navigator Aurora

Image Courtesy: Navigator Gas

The world’s first conversion of a slow-speed marine diesel engine to operate on ethane as a fuel has been completed on board the vessel Navigator Aurora, classification society ABS said. 

Navigator Gas, in partnership with Charterer Borealis, engine manufacturer MAN Energy Solutions, cargo system and fuel gas supply system supplier TGE and ABS, has converted Navigator Aurora’s main engine from LNG fueling to ethane fueling, while the ship was berthed alongside at Frederikshavn in Denmark.

Delivered in August 2016, ABS-classed Navigator Aurora is a 35,000 cbm ethylene/LPG carrier, equipped with a MAN B&W 6S50ME-C8.2-GI dual fuel (HFO/LNG) burning engine, which has now been converted to a dual fuel (HFO/ethane) 6S50ME-C-GIE engine.

“The success of the ME-GIE conversion project is the culmination of 4 years of close co-operation between Navigator Gas, Borealis, ABS, ABS Consulting, TGE, MAN Diesel & Turbo, Northern Marine and the Liberian administration,” Mark Macey, Navigator Gas Fleet Manager, commented.

As explained by Patrick Janssens, ABS Vice President, Global Gas, the project reflects ABS’ support of technologies which minimize the environmental impact of shipping and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The 15-day long conversion followed engine performance and emissions testing at Kawasaki in Japan, to prove the principle that burning ethane in the Navigator ME-GI engines would be possible. The trials were successful and demonstrated that suitable power and emissions performance, meeting classification and statutory requirements, was available at a fuel gas injection pressure of just over 300 bar.

“This retrofit modification will comply with all current global emissions regulations and position us as early adopters of the global sulphur cap regulation due to come into force on the 1st of January 2020,” Paul Flaherty, Director of Fleet and Technical operations at Navigator Gas, said.

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