Wärtsilä and Finnish universities in engine research project
Wärtsilä has signed a memorandum of understanding with four Finnish universities to collaborate on research into sustainable applications for internal combustion engines.
The Engine Research Initiative (ERI) programme includes Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology, Åbo Akademi University and the University of Vaasa. It aims to create an ‘open research ecosystem’ wherein cutting-edge technologies involving internal combustion engines can be developed and matured to meet the needs of the shipping and power production sectors.
Kari Hietanen, executive vice president, corporate relations and legal affairs, Wärtsilä Corp said: “This type of ecosystem approach represents a unique cooperation between industry and academia. Together, making use of our own individual competences and areas of expertise, we shall endeavour to develop sustainable energy solutions based on the use of combustion engines.”
Wärtsilä noted that both the marine and power generating industries are undergoing a period of rapid change and innovation. In the marine industry, energy storage using extended battery capacity and digitalisation will play a major role in future operational systems. Increased communication capabilities and computational power will drastically change the way goods are transported, with changes likely in both equipment and the way business is conducted.
Two projects are already being planned as part of the ERI programme. The first will seek to ensure the operational availability of engines in autonomous vessels through the use of big data, edge analytics, and optimal data communication via clouds. The second project involves hybrid systems with the integration of batteries, together with new combustion modes aimed at near-zero engine emissions in all operating modes.
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