Trends in the volume and nature of propulsion machinery demand in the low speed sector have been compiled by the market survey department of MAN B&W Diesel in Copenhagen in order to illustrate the past and present standing of the two-stroke engine in the market. The findings are presented in a form of a paper that predicts the potential for this type of prime mover in the future.
In general, when speaking about low speed engines, these are understood to be two-stroke engines. However, there is a certain qualification to this statement, as nearly 10% of all low speed engine units delivered since 1974 are, in fact, four-stroke engines. This means that more than 90% of the low speed engines are of the two-stroke type.
During the period of 1974 – 1998, the number of engines delivered for cargo ships dropped from some 2,000 to approx. 1,400 engines per year. However, in terms of engine output the drop was not as large as the drop in the number of engines, which means that the average engine output has increased over that period.
The greatest fall in the number of engines was in the medium speed sector, which saw a fall of 56%, whereas the number of high speed engines fell by 27%. Low speed engine deliveries fell by just under 5% during the same period. Overall, the market share of low speed engines increased from 41% in 1974 to575 in 1998.
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