Wärtsilä dual-fuel now in 100 LNG carriers

01 Jun 2012

50DF – the engine of choice for LNG carriers

Wärtsilä says that it now has its dual-fuel engines in 100 LNG carrier vessels, following delivery of one such ship from a South Korean shipyard. These 100 LNG Carriers represent about 25% of the current global fleet.

Wärtsilä’s dual-fuel technology was first launched in the early 1990s for use in land-based power plant applications. The first marine installation of the 50DF engine came a decade later. The technology enables the engine to be operated on either natural gas, light fuel oil (LFO), or heavy fuel oil (HFO), and switching between fuels can take place seamlessly during operation, without loss of power or speed. This ensures safety and continuous installation operability. The Wärtsilä 50DF engine is designed to have the same output regardless of the fuel used.

Following the first 50DF LNG carrier installations in 2006, Wartsila believes some 65% of all new LNG Carriers have been fitted with Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines. One of the reasons for this is the high propulsion efficiency. The environmental advantages that operating on gas allows is another factor in the success of this technology. When operating in gas mode, the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are at least 85% below those specified in the current IMO regulations, and CO2 emissions are some 25% less than those of a conventional marine engine running on diesel fuel. Additionally, the sulphur oxide (SOx) and particle emissions are almost zero.

"This is indeed an important milestone for Wärtsilä, and for the shipping industry as a whole. It confirms not only our leading position in the LNG transportation sector, but also the viability of Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines. They have demonstrated that they are a solid and reliable choice for owners and operators, enabling easy adaptation to different sailing patterns, in both arctic and tropical conditions, and to various operational profiles," says Lars Anderson, vice president, Wärtsilä Ship Power, merchant.

In addition, the 50DF engine is being considered for other shipping sectors. For example, in the cruise and ferry sector, where it is often necessary to operate in ECAs, there is growing awareness of the advantages of operating on gas. The new Viking Line ferry to operate between Finland and Sweden will be the largest ferry to operate on gas fuel. Similarly, vessels serving the offshore oil and gas industry are increasingly being fitted with Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines. The need for flexibility, fuel efficiency, and compliance with stricter environmental regulations, are the drivers behind this trend. To date Wärtsilä has sold some 720 DF engines, and has accumulated more than 5 million running hours of experience with this technology, claimed to be far beyond anything offered by other engine manufacturers.

With environmental issues and fuel economy likely to be the future market drivers, Wärtsilä has recently expanded its merchant fleet equipment range to include solutions that address process efficiency and environmental compliance. Following its recent acquisition of Hamworthy, Wärtsilä is established in the LPG and LNG carrier markets for the reliquefaction of boil-off gas, with solutions that offer both economic and environmental advantages.

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