Wärtsilä and Aalto University have signed a new three-year partnership contract. The agreement covers three themes: research and insight, business development, and talent, recruitment and educational collaboration. The long-term research cooperation in fossil-free fuels and their combustion phenomena continues, but the aim is to expand cooperation also to other fields of research at Aalto.
“Wärtsilä and Aalto University have a long history of cooperation especially in engine research and project courses. The renewed agreement is a continuation of that cooperation but also a step that explores new possibilities to enable technologies and skills for a sustainable future”, notes Kari Hietanen, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations and Legal Affairs at Wärtsilä.
“The partnership aims at continuous interaction and improved results by working together. Cooperation with Wärtsilä and other leading technology companies creates new academic results and joint publications and promotes the success of companies that are very important for our society. This way, we foster Finland's competitiveness in academic and industrial arenas,” says Kari Tammi, Associate Professor, Design of Mechatronic Machines at Aalto University.
One key driver of the partnership is the energy transition and the need to develop new zero-emission fuel solutions for maritime transport and power plants. Together with its international partners, Aalto University is a world-class pioneer in research on hydrogen, ammonia, methanol and other synthetic renewable fuels and their combustion phenomena. As the leading company in its field, Wärtsilä brings insight to what is key for the future, while being technically and economically feasible.
“There are several options for clean fuels for internal combustion engines, with hydrogen and ammonia at the top of the list. Research and development now requires all available inputs and expertise to transition to zero-emission fuels as quickly as possible,” says Jari Hyvönen, Leader of Wärtsilä’s research group on motor concepts.
Cooperation between Wärtsilä and Aalto covers several areas such as studying the flow phenomena in combustion of renewable fuels computationally and experimental and computational production of methanol made from hydrogen. Cooperation on the development of hydrogen-based fuels will also continue in the recently launched Zero Emission Marine (ZEM) project led by Wärtsilä. The aim of Business Finland's leading company ecosystem programme is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of maritime transport by 60% by 2030.
Aalto and Wärtsilä also explore cooperation opportunities in areas such as virtual validation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, data analytics, and advanced materials. The cooperation is also seamless in the utilisation of research equipment. Two Aalto researchers are currently conducting fuel spray research at Wärtsilä’s recently inaugurated Sustainable Technology Hub in Vaasa.
“The discussion on the utilisation of infrastructures in future research projects is open in nature. We are in the same boat and we have a good teamwork spirit. Joint research is very important for Aalto's doctoral education. Recently, Wärtsilä has been active in recruiting our fresh doctors,” says Martti Larmi, Professor of Energy Technology at Aalto University.
The aim of Aalto University and Wärtsilä is to strengthen their cooperation related to recruitment and students and to develop joint operating models.
Image: Wärtsilä has invested heavily in the study of alternative future fuels at its dedicated fuel laboratory where a broad range of fuels have been tested. © Wärtsilä Corporation
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Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in innovative technologies and lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. We emphasise innovation in sustainable technology and services to help our customers continuously improve their environmental and economic performance. Our dedicated and passionate team of 17,000 professionals in more than 200 locations in 68 countries shape the decarbonisation transformation of our industries across the globe. In 2021, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 4.8 billion. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.