Caterpillar unveils first-of-its-kind LNG test bed for marine

Caterpillar’s new LNG test bed in Kiel, Germany.

Caterpillar Marine unveiled the first LNG (liquefied natural gas) test bed for gas-fueled engines at its facility in Kiel, Germany. The LNG preparation unit comprises an LNG tank and a gas preparation unit, both in 40-foot container size. They were developed and provided by Marine Service GmbH, Hamburg.

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 nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), particulate matter and carbon dioxide. When handled properly, LNG offers a clear path to regulation compliance with all current and future standards.”

LNG also provides greater energy density than natural gas in its gaseous form, and it’s possible to store up to 600 times more LNG than standard natural gas.

LNG’s clean-burning nature has drawn numerous vessel owners, 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-fuelled 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.”

More information is available here.

Maritime Editorial