Milestone for gas-fuelled engines

12 Nov 2012
Wärtsilä 50DF engine

Wärtsilä 50DF engine

Wärtsilä has announced that it has, to date, sold more than 2,000 of its gas-fuelled engines, which together have accumulated more than 7 million operational running hours in both land-based and marine applications.

"Wärtsilä's gas and dual-fuel engine technology can be used in all vessel types, and installed both in newbuilds and as conversion projects in existing ships. With fuel costs and environmental compliance being the key issues currently facing owners and operators throughout the marine sector, the use of gas as fuel makes a lot of sense. Wärtsilä has been involved in a number of feasibility studies to evaluate the total cost of ownership using gas as a fuel alternative. LNG has consistently been shown to be a viable and attractive alternative to marine diesel and low sulphur fuel oils. These milestone achievements in the number of gas and DF engines sold, and the running hours accumulated, provide even more evidence of this viability," says Alexandre Eykerman, sales director, Wärtsilä Ship Power.

Wärtsilä began development work with dual-fuel gas engines in 1987, the first concept being the gas-diesel (GD) engine with high-pressure gas injection. This was followed by the second generation of gas engines in the early 1990s, when the company introduced spark-ignited (SG) pure gas engines using low pressure gas. The real breakthrough, however, came when the dual-fuel (DF) engine was introduced by Wärtsilä in 1995. This resulted in the ability to combine fuel flexibility and efficiency with environmental performance.

The DF technology enables the engine to be operated on either natural gas, light fuel oil or HFO. Switching between fuels can take place seamlessly during operation, without loss of power or speed. The engine is designed to have the same output regardless of the fuel used.

About two years ago, Wärtsilä initiated a major project to adapt its low pressure gas engine technology for use in its two-stroke engine portfolio. Subsequently, a new test engine, the RTX-5,based on a commercially available six-cylinder RT-flex50 engine, was installed in the Trieste engine laboratory in Italy in March 2011. The resulting tests with the low pressure low speed dual-fuel engine have demonstrated that low-speed engine performance can fully comply with IMO Tier III NOx limits when operating on gas.

Wärtsilä says its low pressure two-stroke gas engine is scheduled for release during 2013 and will be available for commercial use in 2014. It will be incorporated into the full portfolio of engine types during 2015/2016 to provide customers with a choice of solutions.

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