Next phase of Hercules project begins

10 Feb 2012
The final meeting of Hercules-B project partners, at the MAN Diesel House in Copenhagen

The final meeting of Hercules-B project partners, at the MAN Diesel House in Copenhagen

Low and medium speed engine manufacturers Wärtsilä and MAN Diesel & Turbo have jointly announced the kick off of the next phase of the, long-term European-funded Hercules research programme.

The overall vision of the programme is said to be the achievement of sustainable and safe energy production from marine power plants. Phase III of the Hercules programme, Hercules-C, will aim at integrating several successful technologies in order to reduce emissions and optimise the efficiency and long-term reliability of marine engines. Hercules-C is planned to run for three years, from 2012 to 2014, with a budget of €17million. This brings the total Hercules research programme budget, which includes the earlier Hercules-A and Hercules-B projects, to €76 million. The next phase is made possible by an offer of funding from the European Commission.

The first objective of Hercules-C is to achieve further substantial reductions in fuel consumption, while at the same time optimising power production and usage. This will be achieved through advanced engine developments in combustion and fuel injection, as well as through improvements in ship energy management, and the use of engine technologies supporting transport mission management.

The second objective is to maintain the performance of engines throughout their operational lifetime. This involves advanced materials and tribology developments to improve efficiency and reliability, as well as sensors, and monitoring and measurement technologies to improve the controllability and availability of marine power plants.

The third specific objective of Hercules-C is to achieve near-zero emissions by integrating the various technologies developed in the previous collaborative research efforts.

Wärtsilä and MAN Diesel & Turbo say that together they cover about 90% of the world’s marine engine market. The two major partner groups have been collaborating in the Hercules programme since it was conceived in 2002 to develop new technologies to increase marine engine efficiency. In so doing, fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, as well as gaseous and particulate emissions can be reduced, while engine reliability will be increased.

The March 2012 issue of The Motorship will include a summary of the Hercules project so far.

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