When a ship is being constructed in a shipyard, the most important machinery that is to be selected is the main propulsion machinery.
Both 2 stroke and 4 stroke engines are widely available in the market but for a large ocean-going merchant vessel, a 2 stroke engine is more commonly used as the main engine and has a much better market.
Even with a wide variety of advantages that 4 stroke engine offers like the compact size of the plant, much more RPM or speed etc, a 2 stroke engine outshines with few but vital advantages.
Some of the important reasons why 2 stroke engines are more popular than 4 stroke engines as the main propulsion engines on ships
- Fuel Selection: The fuel prices have gone sky high and better grade fuel is adding higher costs to vessel operation. A two-stroke engine can burn low-grade fuel oil and hence reduce the running cost of the ship.
- Efficiency: The thermal and engine efficiency of 2 stroke engine is much better than that of a 4 stroke engine.
- Power: Most of the 2 stroke engines are now large stroke engines that produce more power. Hence they have high power to weight ratio as compared to 4 stroke engines.
- More Cargo: Ship can carry more weight and hence more cargo with 2 stroke engines because of high power to weight ratio.
- Reliability: Two stroke engines are more reliable in operation as compare to 4 stroke engines.
- Less Maintenance: The maintenance requirement of the two-stroke engine is much lesser than 4 stroke engine.
- Direction control: Direct starting and reversing are easier with two stroke engine.
- No reduction attachments: As two stroke engines are low-speed engines, there is no requirement of reduction gear or speed reduction arrangement as required for high-speed four-stroke engines.
However, the ease-of-manoeuvring a two stroke engine is less than that of a four-stroke engine and the initial cost of installation of a two stroke propulsion plant is also much higher than the running and maintenance cost of a 4 stroke engine.
In 2 stroke engine, the amount saved on high-grade fuel can compensate for all other disadvantages and also reduce the whole operating cost of a ship.
You may also like to read-What is Local or Emergency Manoeuvring on Ship?
Disclaimer: The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendations on any course of action to be followed by the reader.
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