If shipping is to achieve the kinds of getting-to-zero targets being talked about at COP26, converting existing ships to burn new green fuels will be essential. And the sooner those conversions can start, the better.
Wärtsilä has recently completed a development program that has positioned it to commercially launch a two-stroke future fuels conversion platform in the first quarter of 2022. It says the innovative and patented engine combustion technology platform will enable the fast and cost-effective conversion of two-stroke main engines to operate on clean-burning future fuels.
Initially, the retrofit conversion will enable operation on currently available LNG fuel, with negligible methane slip from the engine.
According to Wärtsilä , the modular design of its concept provides a platform that will be further developed in order to allow for the adoption of alternative green fuels or fuel blends when they become commercially available.
The development program recently been concluded with successful initial engine tests in the Wärtsilä two-stroke engine laboratory in Trieste, Italy.
MSC Shipmanagement has collaborated with Wärtsilä throughout the development as a key partner in the piloting and advancement of the platform towards future fuel applications. Representatives from MSC were in attendance during some of the testing procedures.
“Wärtsilä has taken a leading position in the development and delivery of smart technology solutions that will accelerate the realization of our industry’s decarbonization ambitions,” says Roger Holm, president marine power & EVP at Wärtsilä Corporation. “This pioneering conversion solution is one more prime example of our capabilities and commitment. Its flexibility means that the first step towards adopting the use of future fuels can be taken now knowing that the investment will not become obsolete. The benefits, both economic and environmental, are significant.”
“We have been following the development of this innovative conversion solution with high interest and we regard it as a supporting element in MSC’s journey towards net zero decarbonization by 2050,” says Prabhat Jha, CEO & group managing director at MSC Shipmanagement. “Together with Wärtsilä we have high expectations for the next steps of this initiative, which starts with technology demonstration on one of our larger container vessels with a Wärtsilä RT-flex96C-B main engine, and which will continue to make our existing fleet ready to meet future emissions needs
Wärtsilä says that “a world-first feature of the concept is the cryogenic fuel supply system, which together with a revolutionary injection system, provides flexible and optimized operational performance under all conditions. Among the other notable benefits delivered by this future-proofing solution are the capability to comply with upcoming environmental regulations and therefore providing assets with an extended operational life.”
The conversion solution is aimed at vessels operating with two-stroke, electronically controlled engines. The concept can be complemented with Wärtsilä’s fuel gas supply system to provide a complete turnkey solution.