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Wednesday, October 7, 2020 

Alfa Laval and engine developer WinGD have cooperated on a solution for LNG-fuelled engines to cut methane slip and boost fuel and energy efficiency.

The Alfa Laval PureCool system is the main component in WinGD’s iCER technology, to be offered as an option for next-generation WinGD X-DF engines. According to Alfa Laval, with IMO targeting a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, LNG is becoming a natural choice for shipowners in the transition to carbon-neutral fuels. However, many shipowners are concerned about the potential appearance of methane slip regulations. LNG produces less CO2 than other fossil fuels when burned, but a small percentage of methane can slip through the engine without being combusted. Since methane has a higher global warming potential than CO2, even this small source of emissions may come into focus in meeting IMO’s ambitious climate goals.

David Jung (pictured), Business Development Manager, Alfa Laval, said: “With IMO aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% compared to 2008 levels, LNG has a major role as a bridge fuel in moving towards a carbon-neutral future. However, the awareness of methane slip and its influence on global warming is increasing. New regulations are not unthinkable, and any improvement from today’s environmental benchmark is important. With or without regulations, WinGD’s iCER technology with the Alfa Laval PureCool system will help the shipping industry align more fully with climate goals by minimising methane slip.”

Developed by Alfa Laval in close collaboration with WinGD, PureCool is the cascade exhaust gas cooling system at the heart of the iCER concept. Short for Intelligent Control by Exhaust gas Recycling, iCER is the first development presented in X-DF2.0, WinGD’s second-generation dual-fuel engine technology.

“The iCER option is a standalone installation adjacent to the engine. During operation in gas mode, it improves combustion by cooling and recirculating about 50% of the exhaust gas through a low-pressure path with full turbocharger capacity. This minimises methane slip, and the PureCool system provides the vital cooling function that makes it possible. This is not fine-tuning or a marginal improvement of LNG technology, this is a major environmental gain that truly strengthens LNG’s profile. With the PureCool system at its heart, iCER will cut methane slip by as much as half,” said Jung.

Testbed trials at WinGD, the final step in a two-year testing programme, have indeed shown a methane slip reduction of up to 50%.

Beyond the methane slip reduction, the iCER solution with PureCool offers engine buyers significant operational benefits through improved combustion, cutting fuel consumption in gas mode by 3%, offering a positive impact on a vessel's EEDI.

As iCER moves into the commercial phase and prepares for a first pilot installation, Jung points out that this is the first such compliance solution related to non-traditional fuel: “Alfa Laval is determined to stay at the forefront of developing solutions, both for environmental protection and for fuel progress. The PureCool system represents the two sides of that commitment equally. Above all, it shows our dedication to keeping customers prepared for the challenges ahead,” said Jung.

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