LEC - Evolutionary engine technologies for a sustainable tomorrow


Autumn 2019

The LEC is Austria's leading research institute for large engine technology and a global frontrunner in researching and developing visionary concepts for sustainable energy and transportation systems.

e-fuels as key enabler for emission reduction
The aim is to develop technologies capable of making drastic carbon dioxide reductions and to build large engines that are virtually emission-free. In this context, the LEC investigates and optimizes e-fuels, i.e. regenerative fuels such as hydrogen and hydrogen carrier gases e.g. synthetic natural gas, methanol or ammonia.

"We are focusing on the development of combustion processes for large engines that are emission-free, highly efficient and flexible in terms of the fuel type used," stated Andreas Wimmer, CEO of the LEC.

Storage presents major challenge for the energy transition
Volatility and the storage of electric power over a longer period of time are a major challenge when switching to renewable energies. Power to Gas (PtG) and Power to Liquid (PtL) are technologies which convert electricity into gaseous (e.g. hydrogen) and liquid (e.g. methanol) fuels respectively. These fuels are obtained by electrolysis with excess wind or solar power. A hot topic for LEC is currently the combustion of 100% regenerative hydrogen for power generation and propulsion.

HyMethShip sets new standards on the way to zero-emission shipping
The EU-project HyMethShip is a showcase example of drastic emission reduction by using renewable fuels for de facto zero emission ship propulsion. HyMethShip has the potential to eliminate air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions and sets new standards for the emission-free shipping.


The HyMethShip concept innovatively combines a membrane reactor, a CO2 capture system, a storage system for CO2 and methanol as well as a hydrogen-fueled combustion engine into one system. Methanol is reformed to hydrogen, which is then burned in a conventional reciprocating engine that has been upgraded to operate with multiple fuel types and specially optimized for hydrogen use. The drastic CO2 reduction is the result of using renewable methanol as the energy carrier and implementing pre-combustion CO2 capture and storage on the ship. The HyMethShip system will achieve a reduction in CO2 of more than 97% and practically eliminate SOx and PM emissions. NOx emissions will be reduced by more than 80% significantly below the IMO Tier III limit. The energy efficiency is expected to be more than 40% better than the best available technology solution (methanol as fuel coupled with conventional post-combustion carbon capturing). The renewable methanol fuel bunkered on the ship is ideally produced on-shore from the captured CO2, thus closing the CO2 loop of the ship propulsion system. The basic engine type is the same as the one currently used on the majority of ships. The system will be developed, validated, and demonstrated on-shore at the LEC in Graz, Austria, with an engine in the range of 1 to 2 MW.

The cost effectiveness of the system will also be assessed for different ship types, applications and use cases. For medium and long-distance waterborne transportation, the HyMethShip concept is considered to be the best approach available that achieves this level of CO2 reduction and is economically feasible

For further information on the LEC and on the project visit www.lec.at or www.hymethship.com