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Tuesday, June 16, 2020 

Winterthur Gas & Diesel (WinGD)'s X-DF low pressure injection technology has built up a dominant market share in the dual-fuel low speed engine marketplace, but methane slip - unburned gas fuel, a contributor to greenhouse gases - has threatened to hold back the technology in the drive to 2050 and decarbonisation.

The company's answer is Intelligent Control by Exhaust Recycling (iCER), a new technology which is designed to reduce methane emissions by up to 50% while improving efficiency and cutting fuel consumption in its X-DF dual-fuel engines. ICER is the first development to be introduced as part of X-DF2.0, WinGD’s second-generation dual-fuel engine platform.

The iCER system works on a similar principle to Exhaust Gas Recirculation, which has been applied to Diesel engines to reduce NOx emissions. ICER helps control combustion control through the use of inert gas - effectively replacing some of the oxygen in the combustion gas with carbon dioxide. This permits a wider operating window for the same air/fuel ratio, resulting in more efficient combustion, less unburned methane, and lower fuel consumption. Regulation of methane slip is expected, in anticipation of future IMO regulations to help meet 2050 greenhouse gas targets.

According to WinGD, by advancing the performance of dual-fuel engines, X-DF2.0 will help shipowners prepare for shipping’s transition to carbon-neutral fuels. The technology makes possible the use of higher BMEP (brake mean effective pressure), opening up the pathways to future fuels. Improved fuel efficiency will be another key factor in further emissions reduction during the first phase of the transition to a lower carbon future. The flexibilty of the X-DF design, which can switch between Diesel and Otto cycle operation, permits the engine to adapt to a wide variety of alternative fuels. Even now it will burn carbon-neutral synthetic or bio-derived gaseous fuels in addition to fossil-derived LNG.

“By adjusting the recirculation rate of inert gas and controlling parameters like fuel admission and ignition timing, we can increase compression ratios for greater efficiency,” said Volkmar Galke (pictured), WinGD Global Director of Sales. “The result is optimised combustion through closed-loop control regardless of ambient conditions and load.”

iCER will be available on all new X-DF engines. It is currently completing its two-year test programme at one of WinGD’s test engine facilities, after which a pilot installation is being planned.

Galke continued: “Our highly efficient and reliable X-DF engines are already widely used, with more than 500,000 hours operating experience and market leadership in many key vessel segments. Our next-generation X-DF2.0 technologies will prepare our engines for even better performance, both with LNG and with the future fuels to come.”

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