MAN Energy Solutions - Centrale Nantes Chair

Centrale Nantes and MAN Energy Solutions are working together as part of an industrial chair on the gradual decarbonisation of marine propulsion and electricity generation. This 6-year chair started in 2018 and was extended in 2023 for a further 18 months.

Global shipping is responsible for 3% of worldwide greenhouse gases (GHG). With the maritime industry responsible for transporting 90% of world commerce, there is increasing pressure on the sector to reduce its carbon footprint swiftly even if it is the most efficient transport in terms of GHG emissions (gCO2/Tonne/km). The International Maritime Organization has committed to reducing emissions by 50% by 2050.

Energy transition in maritime transport will involve decarbonising engines. The reduction of CO2 emissions from ships can be achieved through:
  • more efficient engines
  • more efficient ships
  • decarbonised fuel and new propulsion technologies
The MAN Energy Solutions - Centrale Nantes Chair aims to contribute to the gradual decarbonisation of marine propulsion and electricity production with applied research on this challenge.

This chair represents 6 years of collaboration between Centrale Nantes via its LHEEA research laboratory, and MAN Energy Solutions. 8 full-time equivalents are working on the subject, including 3 PhD students, for an investment of 5 million euros (Centrale Nantes: €2M - MAN Energy Solutions €3M).

The objective of the MAN Energy Solutions - Centrale Nantes Chair: optimise the energy efficiency of industrial engines

The main scientific aim is to study the operation of industrial engines in their environment in order to optimise their energy efficiency while limiting their emissions.

Studies carried out within the Chair's scope include:
  • Specific phenomena such as fuel injection, combustion, lateral heat transfer, supercharging, etc.
  • Interactions between the engine and its environment (systems approach), whether in the context of naval propulsion or electricity production, including hybrid power
  • The use of alternative fuels
This is often multidisciplinary work, calling in particular on thermodynamics, compressible fluid dynamics, combustion, and even hydrodynamics, electrical engineering or automatic control.

On the technical side, the aim is to contribute to the development of new components and new strategies for optimising complete systems, possibly with new types of fuel. Most of the studies are carried out by simulation on different scales and are supported by experimental tests, which are required for model calibration and to validate results. These tests are carried out on the engine test benches of our partner MAN Energy Solutions and on a test bench developed at Centrale Nantes for injection systems.


The three PhD theses allow for more upstream or fundamental investigation, notably on the hybridization of the supercharging system of semi-rapid naval propulsion engines, innovative strategies for controlling a ship's propulsion system in the presence of swell, and on combining renewable energy and diesel for the production of electricity in isolated areas.
The decarbonisation of maritime transport and electricity production is an important societal and industrial issue for the future that Centrale Nantes is tackling comprehensively through its   platforms and expertise in hydrodynamics and propulsion in the same laboratory (LHEEA).
Published on October 20, 2021 Updated on April 22, 2024