Wärtsilä is cooperating with Ship Architects, Inc., Daphne, Ala., to bring natural gas fueled propulsion to America's waterways.
The companies have together developed a new concept of towboat design that employs Wärtsilä 20DF and 34DF dual fuel engines for propulsion.
The riverboat industry faces progressively severe restrictions on engine emissions.
Wärtsilä says its dual-fuel technology enables towboats to be powered by engines that comply with current and future environmental legislation, while creating operational cost savings for the operators.
"It has been clear to our company for quite a while that the river towboat industry is one whose needs match the answers that natural gas provides. With that in mind, our architects made a conceptual design to create a leading technology river towboat. It is based on the use of clean LNG as its propulsion fuel, and we are very pleased for Wärtsilä's co-operation in making this possible," commented Joe Comer, President of Ship Architects, Inc..
Wärtsilä says its technology eliminates need for low-sulfur fuel. While EPA regulations place ever stricter limits on fuel sulfur content, limited refining capacity for low sulfur fuel is creating a shortage of supply and substantially higher fuel prices, which in turn is impacting the operational revenues of the operators. Fortunately, theU.S is rich in natural gas resources. This means that natural gas is abundant, secure, available, and affordable at relatively low prices.
John Hatley, Vice President, Ship Power, Wärtsilä in North America, noted that: "This is an exciting time of change for the towboat industry, with natural gas powered engines providing a huge step forward. Wärtsilä is very pleased to be working to make this key player in America's transportation system, both 'greener' and more economically viable."