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. 

Wärtsilä continues to invest ~3% of net sales in R&D. In 2022, research and development expenditure totalled EUR 241 million, which represents 4.1% 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 launched 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. For the energy market, Wärtsilä expects to have an engine and plant concept for pure hydrogen operation ready by 2025. For the marine market, Wärtsilä has already successfully tested an engine running with a fuel mix containing 70% ammonia. Wärtsilä anticipates having an engine concept with pure ammonia fuel available in 2023 and pure hydrogen by 2025. The company is also preparing for maritime carbon capture (CCS) pilot projects in 2023-2024, with the intention to have a market launch in 2025.

In 2022 Wärtsilä opened its new technology centre, the Sustainable Technology Hub, (STH), in Vaasa, Finland. This EUR 250 million investment enables the agile development and efficient research of sustainable solutions for the marine and energy industries. Flexible manufacturing systems, robotics, and data are central to the operations of STH. We are also pioneering the adoption of sustainable fuels, with engines capable of operating on carbon-neutral and carbon-free fuels. STH supports an ecosystem of collaboration both locally and globally, by inviting customers, partner companies, academia, and other innovators to incubate ideas at the Partner Campus. 


Technological achievements in 2022

The new Wärtsilä 32 engine was launched and a methanol milestone was reached with the first newbuild engine order for five Wärtsilä 32 engines capable of operating on methanol. MethanolPac, the new fuel supply system for methanol, complements the new engine. 

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Wärtsilä 25 engine's modularity offers maximised flexibility, while its efficiency and fuel economy enable minimised emissions. The engine can easily be upgraded to operate with carbon-free fuels as they become available. It will be the first Wärtsilä engine to run on ammonia as a fuel.

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Wärtsilä and US partners succeeded with the world’s first-of-its-kind power plant fuel tests using blended hydrogen. Wärtsilä engine continued to supply power to the grid throughout the testing period, making this the largest internal combustion engine ever to operate continuously on a hydrogen fuel blend.

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Wärtsilä 46TSDF dual-fuel engine can operate on LNG and will be able to use bio- or synthetic methane in the future. It reduces fuel consumption and lowers emissions while being easily retrofittable for future carbon-neutral and carbon-free fuels as they become available.

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Smart Panoramic Edge Camera System (SPECS) provides a 360° vessel view streamed directly to the bridge in real-time. As well as providing full situational awareness around the ship, it improves safety by accurately reporting distances to other objects in its vicinity including the quayside and other vessels.

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