Taking dual-fuel marine engines to the next level

Wärtsilä’s new 46DF engine represents a significant addition to the company’s existing range of dual-fuel engines (DF), which have already made Wärtsilä a world leader in marine power solutions. Compared to any other alternative currently available on the market, its specific fuel consumption is lower, output is remarkably higher, and lifecycle costs are extremely attractive.

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Since Wärtsilä introduced its dual-fuel technology in 1995, the company’s dual-fuel engines have successfully accumulated 10 million running hours in both marine and land-based applications. Today, more than 1 000 Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines have been sold globally.

“With the newly launched 46DF engine, Wärtsilä has raised the industry standard even higher,” says Lars Anderson, Vice President 4-stroke Sales, Wärtsilä Ship Power. “It offers simultaneously drastically lower specific fuel consumption, both in gas and diesel fuel mode, remarkably higher output, and extremely attractive lifecycle costs compared to any other alternative currently available on the market.”

The fuel flexible Wärtsilä 46DF engine has been specifically developed for the high-output market segment, including cruise ships and ferries, merchant vessels, LNG carriers and FSRUs (Floating Storage and Regasification Unit), and offshore vessels and platforms, and is capable of operating on natural gas, heavy fuel oil, or marine diesel oil. This fuel flexibility enables reduced operational expenses, compliance with the most stringent emission standards, and full redundancy to ensure uninterrupted operation.

Advantages of dual-fuel engines

The key advantage of dual-fuel engines – which typically primarily use liquefied natural gas (LNG) but can also run on heavy fuel oil or marine diesel oil – is that their owners can select the most economical fuel under different conditions.

“Diesel prices are rising, and in many regions emission regulations are tightening,” says Giulio Tirelli, Director of Wärtsilä Ship Power’s 4-stroke Portfolio & Applications. “Both of these trends make LNG more attractive. But it’s still useful to have a backup diesel capacity, partly for safety reasons, but also in case ships need to be used in waters where LNG bunkering infrastructure is not yet well developed. Our DF engines can switch so seamlessly between fuels mid-operation that the transition is hard for anyone on board to notice.”


Benefits for ship owners and operators

“The 46DF is at the high output end of the DF family,” Tirelli says. “We can really say it’s the most technologically advanced dual-fuel engine in the world. Through technical improvements in engine design we’ve been able to achieve power output 15-20 percent higher than for similar-scale conventional engines, without increasing cylinder bore size. Most importantly, we’ve been able to do this while also radically reducing fuel consumption. This means lower running costs for clients.”

The Wärtsilä 46DF consists of two different versions to meet specific customer needs. The high efficiency version offers drastically lower fuel consumption with a cylinder power of 1045kW, while the high power version is capable of a cylinder power of 1145kW with excellent engine thermal efficiency. For LNG carrier applications, the Wärtsilä 46DF can offer fuel savings of as much as 20 tons/day compared to the first introduced DF engines. With up to 14 fewer cylinders installed, the overall lifecycle installation costs are significantly and positively impacted by roughly US$1000/day.

When operating in gas mode, the Wärtsilä 46DF engine is already compliant with IMO Tier III regulations without any secondary exhaust gas purification systems. When fuelled by gas, the sulphur oxide (SOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are notably reduced, and smokeless operation is attained. In liquid fuel oil mode, the Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines are fully compliant with the IMO Tier II exhaust emission regulations set out in Annex VI of the MARPOL 73/78 convention.

“In many marine areas around the world emission control regulations are due to be tightened,” says Tirelli. “This will further encourage the marine industry to favour low-emission solutions like our DF engines. Following the launch of our new 46DFs in March 2014, we hope and believe this newest addition to our range will also become very successful.”

Wärtsilä 46DF in wartsila.com

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