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  • Engines running on future fuels
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Future fuels: Engines powered with alternative energy sources

Global maritime transport emits around 3% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing emissions in shipping industry is crucial for reaching the global climate targets. 

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set a target of net-zero CO2 emissions from shipping by or around 2050. An ambitious goal that requires technological changes in the industry.

For that reason we are developing pioneering technologies like dual-fuel engines and propulsion systems that have a potential to contribute to a carbon-neutral future.

Learn more about the different kinds of future fuels, engines operating on these fuels and the technology behind them.

Up to
of hydrogen can be blended into the gas mix used in MAN 35/44G gas engines
More than
running hours on methanol alone for the MAN B&W ME-LGIM

What are future fuels?

Future fuel is a term used for an alternative fuel which acts as a substitute for carbon-intensive fuels derived from fossil oils. To decrease emissions from shipping and reach carbon neutrality, the future belongs to low-carbon and climate-neutral fuels produced from green hydrogen and renewable energy sources. These fuels include synthetic natural gas (methane), green ammonia and methanol as well as hydrogen for short-distance transportation. Even though not produced from renewable energy sources, the mid-term fuel-mix currently also includes transition fuel types, such as LNG (methane).


Methanol Blue@3x_480x207


Methanol is a biodegradable, clean-burning fuel type that significantly reduces emissions such as particulate matter, sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides.


  • can be produced from renewables and is carbon-neutral
  • can be stored at ambient conditions

Engine: Two-stroke, four-stroke

Usage: tankers carrying methanol as cargo, container vessels, bulk carriers

Learn more about methanol


LNG Blue@3x_480x207


LNG (also known as methane) stands for liquefied natural gas, natural gas transformed into a liquid state through a cooling process.


  • lower SOX, CO2, NOx emissions than fuel oils
  • excellent bridging fuel until fully carbon-neutral alternatives are available

Engine: Two-stroke, four-stroke, dual-fuel retrofits by MAN PrimeServ

Usage: Container vessels, tankers, LNG carriers, Bulk carriers, RoRo vessels, OSVs, ferries, cruise & fishing vessels

Learn more about LNG




Synthetic natural gas (SNG, also known as methane) can be derived from green hydrogen by adding CO2 in a methanation process.


  • CO2 neutral when using green hydrogen and biogenic CO2
  • can be blended with LNG
  • can be used in today’s dual-fuel engines without modifications

Engine: Two-stroke, four-stroke

Usage: Container vessels, tankers, LNG carriers, bulk carriers, RoRo vessels, OSVs, ferries, cruise & fishing vessels


Learn more about SNG


Biofuel Blue@3x_480x207


Biofuels are produced from biomass and cover a range of fuels such as bioethanol and biodiesel.


  • fully renewable and nearly 100% CO2 neutral
  • easy transport, storage, and handling
  • no new fuel infrastructure needed

Engine: Two-stroke, four-stroke

Usage: Tankers, container vessels, bulk carriers, RoRo vessels

Learn more about biofuel


Ammonie Blue@3x_480x207


Ammonia is a synthetic fuel that can be produced with green hydrogen by adding nitrogen. It is completely carbon-free.


  • zero CO2 emissions released during combustion
  • relatively easy to store

Engine: Two-Stroke engines

Usage: Container vessels

Learn more about ammonia


LPG Blue@3x_480x207


LPG stands for liquefied petroleum gas. It is extracted from natural gas by absorption and, unlike diesel, can be stored almost infinitely without any degradation.


  • close to zero sulfur
  • relatively easy to store
  • high energy density

Engine: Two-stroke, dual-fuel retrofits by MAN PrimeServ

Usage: LPG carriers and shuttle tankers, container vessels, bulk carriers, RoRo vessels

Learn more about LPG

Synthetic diesel

Synth Diesel Blue@3x_480x207

Synthetic diesel

Synthetic diesel is made by reconfiguring another hydrocarbon fuel, such as natural gas, into liquid diesel fuel.


  • cleaner-burning
  • reduced NOx & SOx emission levels
  • easy handling, transportation & storage

Engine: Two-stroke, four-stroke

Usage: Tankers, container vessels, bulk carriers, RoRo vessel, ferries, yachts, tugboats, fishing vessels


Learn more about synthetic diesel




Hydrogen is the simplest and most basic renewable fuel generated by electrolysis. It is carbon-free with potential for the lowest emissions from the combustion process.


  • no GHG emissions
  • can be used as media for other synthetic fuels

Engine: Four-stroke

Usage: Vessels with limited range and fixed operation patterns, GenSets, hybrid propulsion plant configurations

Learn more about hydrogen

Our portfolio of future fuel technologies

MAN Energy Solutions’ attractive marine and energy generation solutions offer power, flexibility, and efficiency. This allows you to meet growing demands for sustainability, low emissions, and high reliability. Explore our wide range of dual-fuel two-stroke engines including MAN B&W ME-LGIM and ME-GI engines, as well as powerful and dynamic four-stroke gas engines like the MAN 35/44G that are ready to be used with alternative fuels and are perfect for CHP and hybrid power plants

Two-stroke marine engines

Four-stroke marine engines

  • MAN49-60DF key visual

    MAN 49/60DF

    The new MAN 49/60DF and its fuel flexibility, enabling it to run on LNG, Diesel or HFO, ensure the lowest fuel costs.

    More info

  • Keyvisual-L21-21DFM

    MAN L21/31DF-M

    The MAN L21/31DF-M methanol GenSet is the first small-bore dual-fuel methanol GenSet in our portfolio.

    More info

Stationary engines

Driving the energy transition on sea and land

MAN Energy Solutions is helping shape the future of the marine and energy industries by developing engines which run on alternative fuels that will play a crucial role in decarbonization and the energy transition. We have been a pioneer and active driver of the Maritime Energy Transition for many years and are now ramping up the use of alternative fuels in shipping. Furthermore, our stationary gas engines can be already used in power plants with a 25% hydrogen-blend. 100% hydrogen operation is currently in development.

Future fuels in use

MAN Energy Solutions technology is in use throughout the world. These three examples illustrate the range of activities where future fuels have been successfully implemented in the company’s engines.

Get in touch with our experts

Would you like to learn more about future fuel technologies and how they best meet your needs? 

Our global network of dedicated engineers is happy to point out the perfect-fit solution for you and your business. Start your change process toward carbon neutrality now and reach out to us today
Contact our experts

Frequently Asked Questions

Which alternative fuels will be used in future?

There is no definite answer. It depends on the industry and circumstances which alternative fuel is the best for your individual circumstances.

In the short and midterm, biofuels and methanol are expected to take the lead and be most relevant for four-stroke applications in the upcoming years, in parallel to a continuously relevant share of LNG-driven vessels.

For two-stroke applications, methanol, LNG (methane) and biofuels are expected to be highly demanded.

Mid to long term, additional fuels, such as ammonia (two-stroke) or even hydrogen (four-stroke) may gain relevance.

How will fossil fuels be used in the future?

Fossil fuels are not unlimited. Therefore, future fuels are important alternatives. But the change is going to take some time, and it is predicted that until 2040 fossil fuels will still provide 60% of energy.

  • A Maritime Energy Transition

    Future fuels for maritime shipping 2023

    At the end of 2022 we asked our four-stroke customers to participate in our short survey about Future fuels in the maritime shipping industry. Out of all replies, we have extracted and summarized the most relevant results and are happy to share them now with you in this report.
     Download study
  • Decarbonize now with LNG-to-power

    Do you know that LNG is the fuel for change?

    LNG-to-power is a perfect way to transition to clean energy production. LNG is already much cleaner than other fossil fuels and is a reliable partner for renewables. And that’s just the start: With LNG infrastructure in place, the future looks even cleaner, because you are ready for CO2-neutral synthetic natural gas.

     Download paper
  • Industrial heat pumps

    Do you want to rethink your economic and eco-friendly way?

    Our heat pumps provide a solution for decarbonized heat and cold production that is economic and eco-friendly, scalable and efficient. This white paper is aimed to provide readers with basic knowledge on the current energy market and technologies an insight about the principle of Carnot Batteries.

     Download study
  • Maritime energy transition

    Exploring scenarios for the maritime industry’s pathway to a greener future.

    #AHOY2050 introduces four different scenarios, each with a very different outcome in regard to the industry’s future, technological development and GHG mitigation efforts.

    Download study

News about our green engines and future fuels

Strategic expertise for global sustainability

In addition to our future technologies portfolio, we offer digitalization and core products made to last. Leveraging our extensive knowledge in these areas, we are charting the course towards a sustainable future.