Research and development

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Wärtsilä is committed to helping minimise the environmental footprint of the maritime and energy industries. Investments in research and development (R&D) are central to securing Wärtsilä’s future positioning. Developing the use of alternative, commercially viable clean fuels for the future is a key focus area of research and development, as is improving the connectivity, efficiency, sustainability, and safety of customer operations through the increased use of digital solutions. 

To support our decarbonisation technology development, we have increased our R&D spending from the historical average of ~3% of net sales to ~4%. During 2023, R&D expenditure totalled EUR 258 million, which represents 4.3% of net sales. The majority of these investments targeted improved environmental performance. The R&D efforts continue to focus on the development of advanced environmental technologies and solutions. 

Wärtsilä has a major test programme towards carbon-free solutions with hydrogen and ammonia fuels. Already today, Wärtsilä engines can run on biofuels, methanol and hydrogen blends. In 2023, we launched the world’s first 100% 4-stroke ammonia solution for marine applications, which will enable a significant advancement in sustainable shipping operations. We also introduced another four methanol-ready engines to our portfolio, setting a new industry benchmark with the broadest methanol engine portfolio currently on the market. For the energy market, Wärtsilä expects to have an engine and plant concept for pure hydrogen operation ready by 2025. The company is also preparing for maritime carbon capture (CCS) pilot projects in 2024, with the intention to have a market launch in 2025.


Technological achievements in 2023

Wärtsilä introduced four new methanol engines to its portfolio, setting a new industry benchmark with the broadest methanol engine portfolio currently on the market. In addition to the Wärtsilä 32 methanol engine, Wärtsilä adds the Wärtsilä 20, Wärtsilä 31, Wärtsilä 46F and Wärtsilä 46TS to its portfolio of engines capable of operating with methanol fuel.

Methanol engine

Wärtsilä introduced the marine sector’s first commercially available 4-stroke engine-based solution for ammonia fuel. It is part of the Wärtsilä 25 engine platform and it enables a significant advance in sustainable shipping operations – during a time in which ship owners are seeking viable options among green fuels. 

Wärtsilä 25 ammonia

Wärtsilä introduced a new ultra-low emissions version of its already efficient Wärtsilä 31DF engine. Whilst operating on LNG, it can further reduce methane emissions on a 50 % load point by up to 56 % and nitrogen oxide (NOx) by up to 86 %. On a weighted average, this new technology can reduce methane emissions by 41 % more than the standard Wärtsilä 31DF engine, which has already the lowest emission levels on the market.

Wärtsilä 31DF 1

Wärtsilä’s successful and highly efficient Wärtsilä 31 diesel engine is being upgraded for higher power output than ever before. The upgraded version delivers an increased power to size ratio within the same physical footprint. The Wärtsilä 31 has the highest power per cylinder for engines of this bore size. Having fewer cylinders for the same power reduces the total cost of ownership, while maintenance costs are also lowered.

Wärtsilä 31 diesel 1

Wärtsilä has launched Quantum High Energy, a next-generation energy storage system with advanced safety features and enhanced energy density, furthering its industry-leading track record and commitment to safety.