MAY 31, 2012 — Wärtsilä has taken the total of LNG carriers to be supplied with Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel propulsion engines to 100 — approximately one quarter of the current global fleet.. The milestone was recently passed with the supply of a LNG carrier in a South Korean shipyard.
Wärtsilä's advanced dual-fuel 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. The Wärtsilä 50DF engine is designed to have the same output regardless of the fuel used.
The fitting of Wärtsilä 50DF engines onboard the first LNG ships in 2006 set a trend that has since seen 65 percent of all new LNG carriers fitted with Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines. Contributing to this success of this particular engine over the alternatives is its propulsion efficiency. The clear 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 percent below those specified in the current IMO regulations, and CO2 emissions are some 25 percent less than those of a conventional marine engine running on diesel fuel. Additionally, SOx and particle emissions are negligible at almost zero percent.
"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.
Other marine sectors following the trend
In addition to its success in the LNG carrier market, the Wärtsilä 50DF engine is increasingly being considered by owners and operators throughout the shipping industry. For example, in the cruise and ferry sector, where it is often necessary to operate in Emission Control Areas (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 in the world operating on gas.
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.
The Wärtsilä 50DF engine is manufactured in configurations from a 6-cylinder in-line version to an 18-cylinder version in V-configuration, giving 950/975 kW per cylinder and a total maximum mechanical output of 17,100 kW. The engine speed is 500 or 514 rpm with 50Hz and 60 Hz applications. The maximum thermal efficiency is higher than with any other gas engine.