The HERCULES programme and sustainable innovation through partnerships
The long-term HERCULES R&D programme was conceived in 2002, and has been set up within the context of the EU's sixth and seventh Framework programmes. Sharing a joint vision, the major low- and medium-speed engine manufacturers, Wärtsilä, Winterthur Gas & Diesel, and MAN Diesel & Turbo, are collaborating with universities, research institutions, and other industrial partners to develop new technologies for marine engines and related systems. The fourth phase kicked off in 2015 in the form of the HERCULES-2 project that aims at creating fuel flexible large marine engines that are optimally adaptive to their operating environment.
The project HERCULES-2 comprises four R&D Work Package Groups:
I: Fuel Flexible Engine
II: New Materials (Applications in engines)
III: Adaptive Powerplant for Lifetime Performance
IV: Near-Zero Emissions Engine
The HERCULES-2 consortium comprises 32 partners of which 30% are Industrial and 70% are Universities or Research Institutes. HERCULES-2 is planned to run for three years, from 2015 to 2018, with a total budget of EUR 25 million. The project was made possible by a EUR 20 million funding through the European Commission Horizon 2020 Innovation Programme and a contribution from the Swiss government.
2016 saw the completion of the Future Flexible Energy Systems (FLEXe) research programme, which was started on 1 May 2015. FLEXe is a consortium in Finland gathering 27 organisations covering the entire value network of energy systems. FLEXe combines smartness, flexibility, environmental performance, and economic success with customer acceptance and engagement.
In 2016, Wärtsilä defined joint future research roadmaps with many leading universities in and outside of Finland. These roadmaps contain shared visions on activities to be performed at these universities with varying levels of support from Wärtsilä. Wärtsilä strived to further grow the number of key universities it collaborates with, making these roadmaps into the foundation of a sustainable collaboration.