Wärtsilä seeks breakthrough in clean propulsion as part of Finnish consortium

Wärtsilä Corporation, Press release 20 April 2021 at 10:15 UTC+2
  • Researching cleaner propulsion alternatives is an important part of Wärtsilä’s development programme. In the image Wärtsilä’s Fuel Laboratory where future sustainable fuels are researched. © Wärtsilä

The technology group Wärtsilä is participating in a consortium of Finnish research organisations and leading companies researching means for developing radical new solutions for clean and efficient marine and off-road transport. The project is expected to run until spring 2023, and has been granted funding of EUR 7.9 million by Business Finland, the Finnish Government’s organisation for innovation funding and trade, travel and investment promotion.

Led by the University of Vaasa, the Clean Propulsion Technologies project addresses tightening emissions legislation and ways by which new technologies can be employed to create sustainable propulsion solutions. Wärtsilä’s depth of experience and technical know-how in propulsion systems will play a central role, in particular in establishing a technology roadmap for directing future R&D efforts.

The most significant technological aspects of the anticipated project outcome are a ground-breaking medium-speed engine working in fuel-flexible Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI) mode, the further development of dual-fuel engine technology to enable a drastic reduction in methane emissions at low and partial load, selective catalytic reduction (SCR) control technology improvements, and the development of machine learning control technology for greater accuracy in engine automation and control. The research will further focus on developments in advanced after-treatment measures aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent. Designing and implementing an optimal predictive powertrain control architecture for hybrid propulsion is also on the agenda.

“The common goal is to secure the Finnish powertrain industry’s position as a global technology leader by creating a common vision and sustainable business solutions. Wärtsilä is a leading powertrain equipment manufacturer and their expertise, supported and strengthened by that of the other project partners, will play an important role in tackling growing global competition,” says Maciej Mikulski, Associate Professor from the University of Vaasa.

“A decarbonised future is essential for the marine industry, and Wärtsilä is an established thought leader as we work towards this target. This project will help us in this by developing concepts, together with other technology leaders, that will make propulsion even more sustainable than it is today,” says Juha Kytölä, Director, R&D and Engineering, Wärtsilä Marine Power.

The Clean Propulsion Technologies project will promote efforts to develop highly promising, innovative powertrain technologies for new products. These developments will be aimed at ensuring compliance with emission and greenhouse gas regulations in the marine and off-road transport segments by 2035. In the longer-term, the goal is to develop a technological roadmap for compliance with the IMO’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2050.

In addition to the University of Vaasa and Wärtsilä, the other project partners are Aalto University, Åbo Akademi University, Tampere University, VTT Research Centre of Finland, Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology, AGCO Power, Meyer Turku, Napa, Dinex Finland, Geyser Batteries, Proventia, Bosch Rexroth, and APUGenius.

Media contact for more information on this release:

Ms Marit Holmlund-Sund
General Manager, Marketing Communications
Wärtsilä Marine Power
Mobile +358 (0)40 538 3519

Image caption: Researching cleaner propulsion alternatives has long been an important part of Wärtsilä’s development programme. This illustration is from Wärtsilä’s Fuel Laboratory where future sustainable fuels are being researched.
© Wärtsilä Corporation

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Wärtsilä Marine Power in brief
Wärtsilä Marine Power leads the industry in its journey towards a decarbonised and sustainable future. Our portfolio of engines, propulsion systems, hybrid technology, and integrated powertrain systems deliver the reliability, safety, and environmental performance that Wärtsilä’s Smart Marine vision encompasses. We offer our customers performance-based agreements, lifecycle solutions, and an unrivalled global network of maritime expertise.

Wärtsilä in brief:
Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation, total efficiency and data analytics, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2020, Wärtsilä's net sales totalled EUR 4.6 billion with approximately 18,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.