zoomGaz Imperial from the TSM fleet. Image Courtesy: MAN Jiangnan Shipyard, owned by China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC), has ordered an LPG-burning engine for an 86,000 cbm very large gas carrier (VLGC), MAN Energy Solutions said.The ship, which will be equipped with MAN B&W 6G60ME-LGIP engine, is being built for China’s shipping company Tianjin Southwest Maritime (TSM) and is scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2021.“With 2020 and the new IMO emissions fast approaching, interest in using LPG as a fuel – within and outside of the LPG carrier segment – is growing due to its sulphur-free character, widespread availability, price competitivity, and ease of bunkering. At MAN Energy Solutions, we feel that the introduction of the ME-LGIP is proving timely,” Bjarne Foldager, Senior Vice President, Head of Two-Stroke Business at MAN Energy Solutions, said.MAN Energy Solutions already won the first orders for the new engine earlier in 2018 when Hanjin Heavy Industries announced that it would construct two VLGCs at its Philippines yard for Exmar, the Belgian integrated gas-shipping company. The 86,000 cbm newbuilds will each be powered by an individual MAN B&W 6G60ME-LGIP Mk9.5 engine.The company could also announce the first retrofit orders for the ME-LGIP in September 2018 when it signed a contract with Oslo-listed BW LPG for the world’s first retrofitting of four HFO-burning engines to LPG-propelled dual-fuel engines. The order includes options for further retrofits in the future with work expected to begin during 2020.The company also reported that the ME-LGIP engine has experienced an up to 18% reduction in CO2 and circa 90% reduction in particulate matter when running on LPG, compared with HFO, and expects a strong demand for this type of engine from VLGCs and coastal vessels.LPG is an environmentally-friendly fuel, in much the same class as liquefied natural gas (LNG), and an LPG-fueled engine will significantly reduce emissions, enabling vessels to meet the stringent IMO SOx emission regulations due to come into force globally from 2020. As well as being an important step towards reaching the 2050 IMO GHG targets, LPG also gives credit towards IMO EEDI compliance requirements.Image Courtesy: MANAccording to MAN, LPG’s future as a viable fuel for general marine transportation looks promising as it will not require as large an investment in infrastructure – such as bunkering facilities – in contrast to other, gaseous fuels. As a widespread energy source, availability is high and LPG is easier to store and handle, compared with cryogenic gaseous fuels.Furthermore, LPG is traditionally a cheaper fuel than MGO yet delivers the same performance and efficiency. Importantly, the ability to use LPG cargo as a supplemental fuel source provides significant cost savings for LPGC owners or charterers, including reduced time and fees for fuel bunkering.