Caterpillar Marine unveiled the first LNG test bed for gas-powered engines at its facility in Kiel. The LNG preparation unit comprises of an LNG tank and a gas preparation unit, both in 40 ft container size, and developed and provided by Marine Service GmbH, Hamburg. Caterpillar’s portfolio already includes the widely adopted MaKTM branded dual fuel engines, capable of running on MDO or natural gas. But there is still a lot to learn about LNG and the engineering required to maximize its potential.
With its Kiel location, Caterpillar will improve its understanding of the technology and enhance the service it provides to clients adopting LNG. “LNG offers obvious benefits to marine power and it’s considered a true future fuel,” said Georg Gillert, engineering supervisor for Caterpillar Marine. “It burns cleaner than other fuels, emitting low amounts of NOx, SOx, particulate matter and CO2. When handled properly, LNG offers a clear path to regulation compliance with all current and future standards.”
LNG’s clean burning nature has drawn numerous vessel owners, and particularly those with an eye for future compliance. Several marine industries, including cruise lines and chemical/oil tanker operations, have begun fitting their fleets with MaK power, and gas-powered engine prevalence will only increase over time.
“Caterpillar’s LNG test bed in Kiel is a milestone in LNG development,” said Gillert. “While LNG is a promising fuel, it does offer unique challenges. LNG has to be kept at extremely low temperatures to prevent it from vaporizing, and this requires additional gas handling components not found in other power systems. New engine and gas handling architecture is needed to take full advantage of LNG’s emissions benefits. Customized monitoring and control processes will also be needed to optimize fuel/air composition and safe engine operation.”
Source: Caterpillar Marine