Hercules-2 engine development project to get underway

22 Sep 2014

Wärtsilä and MAN Diesel & Turbo have jointly announced the formal commencement of the EU-funded Hercules-2 project, aimed at minimising emissions from large marine diesel engines.

The original Hercules R&D programme to develop large engine technologies was initiated in 2004 as a joint vision by the two major European engine manufacturing groups. The work started under Hercules-1 is to continue under a new Hercules-2 project, pending approval under the Horizon 2020 EU framework programme for research and innovation.

The main aim of the Hercules-2 project is to develop a fuel-flexible marine engine that is optimally adaptive to its operating environment. The work will focus on four areas of integrated R&D divided into work package groups (WPGs), as follows: WPG 1 - a fuel flexible engine; WPG II - new materials (for engine applications); WPG III - an adaptive power plant for lifetime performance; and WPG IV - a near zero emissions engine.

Wärtsilä says that the work surpass the targets of the previous Hercules projects by going beyond the limits set by the regulatory authorities. By combining the very latest technologies, and through the use of integrated solutions, the new project aims to achieve significant reductions in fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. The project includes several full-scale prototypes and shipboard demonstrators that will speed the development of commercially available products. This co-operation between Wärtsilä and MAN Diesel & Turbo will involve a number of other European companies, as well as universities and research institutions. The project will further accelerate the shipping industry's transition to better fuel efficiency and a significantly reduced environmental footprint, while strengthening the position of the participating partners in the market place.

The consortium is made up of 32 partners, of which 30% are industrial and 70% are universities and research institutes. The budget is divided between industry and the universities on a 63% - 37% basis respectively.

The original Hercules programme was conceived in 2002 to develop new technologies to increase marine engine efficiency. The three previous projects within this programme ran from 2004 until 2014.

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