MAN partners on maritime hydrogen engine concepts

Partnership will develop engine concepts for hydrogen-fueled, medium-speed engines

MAN Energy Solutions is partnering with industry leaders and research institutes to develop engine concepts for hydrogen-fueled, medium-speed engines for maritime applications.

MAN marine engine MAN Energy Solutions is partnering with industry and academia in developing hydrogen concepts optimized for maritime applications. (Photo: MAN Energy Solutions)

The “HydroPoLEn project” brings together the collective expertise and resources of industry representatives from the cruise sector (Carnival Maritime GmbH) and marine propulsion (MAN Energy Solutions SE), along with research institutes specializing in pioneering green energy solutions (WTZ Roßlau gGmbH, NMA TUM) and a key component supplier (Tenneco Inc.). The collaboration is aimed at developing core technologies such as injection, ignition and advanced tribological systems, as well as a concept for the integration of power unit and fuel storage as a single system. The project will also address engine efficiency, safety issues and the main steps concerning the integration of the technology in ships.

The hydrogen-fueled, medium-speed engine concept developed through the partnership is expected to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the maritime sector’s efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, MAN said. Alexander Knafl, head of Four-Stroke R&D, MAN Energy Solutions, noted that hydrogen already plays a key role in MAN Energy Solutions’ strategy already “and is the base for carbon-free fuels such as hydrogen itself and ammonia, as well as synthetic carbon neutral fuels like methane and methano.”

The company’s portfolio already includes electrolyzers through its H-Tec Systems subsidiary, products and technologies for carbon capture storage as well as hydrogen-capable engine technology. “After the release of our 25% hydrogen engines in 2021, a pure hydrogen engine is the next logical step for us,” said Knafl.

Christian Kunkel, head of Combustion Development, Four-Stroke R&D, MAN Energy Solutions, sees hydrogen and ammonia as the two most promising carbon-free fuels “with the advantage that their combustion produces absolutely no CO2 emissions.” In addition, both green and blue hydrogen production methods are climate neutral.

“In the long run, we are convinced that green hydrogen will be the cheapest way to produce hydrogen,” said Kunkel, but there will be a need for a mix of green and blue hydrogen to decarbonize the industry as the infrastructure and production capacity for green hydrogen is established. “As such, I am very happy to see the HydroPoLEn project started. The results I have seen so far and the collaboration with the partners look very promising.”

HydroPoLEn is supported and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

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