Marine applications targeted with new combined cycle technology

09 Sep 2010
The Wärtsilä Marine ECC is intended to improve energy efficiency and lower fuel consumption, thereby reducing both operating costs and exhaust emissions

The Wärtsilä Marine ECC is intended to improve energy efficiency and lower fuel consumption, thereby reducing both operating costs and exhaust emissions

Wärtsilä has signed an exclusive agreement with Turboden of Italy to jointly develop, market, and distribute a new product to be known as the Wärtsilä Marine Engine Combined Cycle (ECC).

Marine ECC is to be based on organic Rankine cycle (ORC) technology. The two companies believe that they will gain synergistic benefits from the combined strength of Wärtsilä's global presence in the marine market, and from Turboden's leadership and experience in developing ORC technology. Turboden is a Pratt & Whitney Power Systems company. The joint development work will initially focus on applying the ORC technology for ship applications, and the Wärtsilä Marine ECC product is expected to enter the market during 2011.

The Wärtsilä Marine ECC provides a means of obtaining an efficient and reliable small-scale combined cycle system from the otherwise wasted energy recovered from downstream exhaust gas, and/or from the high-temperature cooling water of reciprocating engines. This could provide added power in the range of 8% to 12% to the prime mover. Typical sizes range from hundreds to several thousand kWe. Wärtsilä claims that with the Marine ECC in operation, fuel oil consumption will be significantly lowered, provides the operator with reduced operating expenses, while at the same time, exhaust gas emissions are reduced, helping to meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations.

"Because of high fuel prices and the need to reduce emissions, improving energy efficiency is today a matter of great importance to our customers. The Marine ECC will benefit both the customer and the environment, and is, therefore, completely in line with Wärtsilä's strategy," said Juha Kytölä, vice president, product centre Ecotech, Wärtsilä.

The Rankine cycle is a thermodynamic cycle that converts heat into work energy. Water is the most commonly used working fluid in Rankine cycle systems, which are commonly used in electricity generation. The ORC, on the other hand, can operate using various organic fluids using the waste heat from exhaust gas, and from lower grade heat sources such as high-temperature cooling water.

While the ORC is already a well-established form of energy production with an increasing application base, it is relatively new to the marine market. The company says that ORC technology provides certain advantages, including high thermodynamic cycle efficiency, the ability to operate at lower heat source temperatures, simple start up procedures, automatic and continuous operation without operator intervention, simple maintenance procedures, and long lifecycles.

"Following the very positive results that Turboden is now achieving with heat recovery systems for stationary internal combustion engines, we are now excited to be working with Wärtsilä to develop an ORC solution specifically applicable to the marine market," says Paolo Bertuzzi, general manager, finance & commercial area, Turboden.

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