‘Record breaking’ Wärtsilä 31 engine launched

02 Jun 2015
The new four-speed engine is said to unlock new levels of efficiency thanks to cutting-edge technology in several areas, including fuel injection and control

The new four-speed engine is said to unlock new levels of efficiency thanks to cutting-edge technology in several areas, including fuel injection and control

Wärtsilä has launched a new medium-speed engine that it claims reaches a previously unimaginable level of fuel efficiency – with consumption as low as 165g/kWh in the diesel version of the Wärtsilä 31 engine.

The Wärtsilä 31 engine is designed to serve a variety of vessel types requiring main engine propulsion in the 4.2-9.8MW power range (a similar range to the existing Wärtsilä 32. It is available in three versions – diesel, dual-fuel and spark-gas – and the engine’s modular nature allows operators to easily convert the engine from one to the other.

The modular nature of the engine also allows maintenance procedures to be simplified, with an impact on costs and out-of-service time. For example, the first service on the Wärtsilä 31 is required after only 8,000 running hours, compared to 2,000 hours for some counterpart engines.  

“Years of development work have materialised with the introduction of the Wärtsilä 31 engine,” said Roger Holm, senior vice president engines, Wärtsilä Ship Power. “With this breakthrough development, based on the introduction of the very latest technology, we can open the doors to a new level of optimisation that is valid throughout the entire life of the vessel.”

The engine is available in 8V, 10V, 12V, 14V and 16V cylinder configurations. Among its features are new developments in fuel injection systems, engine control systems, and charge air technologies. The Wärtsilä 31 is available for applications in mechanical drive installations, for producing electricity when coupled with a generator and for hybrid installations, as well as heavy duty installations or as an auxiliary engine.

Wärtsilä said the engine is ideally suited for AHTS vessels, OSVs, drilling and semi-submersible vessels, where the requirements are for operational flexibility, high power density, long intervals between overhauls, and high levels of safety. It will also be attractive within the cruise and ferry sector for allowing operators to trim fuel expenses while maintaining high environmental standards. And in the merchant fleet the engine will be applied as a main engine for small to medium tankers, bulk carriers and container vessels.  

The company noted that on a large, hybrid drive AHTS vessel with installed power of 39MW, running at 6,100 hours a year and with Marine Diesel Oil at €700/tonne, the Wärtsilä 31 engine would consume 6.3% less fuel than a competitor’s engine – a saving of €3.28 million over five years.

Confirming the engine’s efficiency, Wärtsilä reported that the engine has achieved a Guinness World Record for the most-efficient four-stroke engine.

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