New Dual-Fuel Marine Diesel Engine on the Stocks From Caterpillar

By George Backwell at May 31, 2013 23:53
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Dual-fuel (DF) diesel engine demand in land and marine power markets has stimulated designs from leading engine builders over the past decade, not least Caterpillar, who say they are working on a new medium-speed dual fuel engine the  M34DF.

Development of these engines is spurred by the increased availability of gaseous fuels, the much lower level of noxious exhaust emissions associated with them, as well as the benefits of reduced engine maintenance and longer intervals between power plant overhauls. Natural gas is also a safe fuel, both lighter than air and with a relatively high ignition temperature.

Dual-fuel Diesel Engine M34DF: Image courtesy of Caterpillar

Caterpillar’s MaK™ product line, manufactured in Germany and China will feature the new M 34 DF from October 2014.  It has a power rating of 500 kW per cylinder at 720 and 750 rpm in diesel and gas modes, and will share the same footprint as the popular M32C engine series.

“It was important for us that M34DF and M32C share the same footprint features, and the same system interfaces. The M34DF was designed to provide operators with industry-leading thermal efficiency for lowest total cost of operation,” explains Detlef Kirste, MaK product definition manager. “The engine offers optimised load response and load stability in addition to numerous support features, such as remote monitoring and engine system diagnostics, helping engine operators with their daily service and maintenance work. Our target was to keep the typical MaK marine engine attributes like reliability, safety and efficiency while striving for an engine design that is easy to service and maintain.”

With a bore of 340 millimeters and stroke of 460, the engine was designed to be the preferred choice for gas electrical and mechanical propulsion applications in the offshore energy and support vessel segments.

Offshore Support Vessel: Image courtesy of Caterpillar

Key to the efficiency of the M32C as well as the new dual fuel  M34DF engine (which features new real-time combustion monitoring) is Caterpillar’s Flexible Camshaft Technology (FCT) which achieves synergy between flexible fuel systems and advanced air systems. High fuel injection pressure over the whole operating range, fuel injection and inlet valve timing are load controlled and influenced by a lever shaft which affects injection timing pressure and inlet valve events to the best advantage.

In addition to FCT, the new engine design is said to have a lower valve train and several innovative monitoring and components aimed to ensure maximum safety during operation.  

Caterpillar will offer service and support for the new MaK dual fuel engine, including installation and application, system integration support, plus customer and crew training.  The new engine will be put up for classification approvals in Rostock, Germany and then sold through Caterpillar’s MaK dealer network.



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