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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 

With more than 100,000 engines sold since 1996, and with over 320 million operating hours under their belts, Rolls-Royce considers the mtu Series 2000 and Series 4000 engines to be a real success story.

Rolls-Royce is now celebrating the 25th anniversary of these engines. Rolls-Royce Power Systems has shipped 52,000 Series 4000 engines and over 65,000 Series 2000s, which are used all over the world in mobile and stationary applications and are said to offer reliability, efficiency and ever-decreasing fuel consumption and emissions.

When MTU Friedrichshafen (as the company was then known) unveiled the engines at the SMM shipping show in Hamburg in October 1996, the Series 4000 diesels were the first of their kind to feature common-rail injection as standard – even before this technology became de rigueur in the automotive industry. “The engines were far ahead of their time, and have since been regarded as the industry standard,” said Otto Buecheler, who has been involved in the development of these engines from the very beginning and is now in charge of development for Series 4000 marine engines.

“Not only can these engines look back on an impressive history, they’re also going to help take Rolls-Royce Power Systems into an even more successful future,” said Andreas Schell, CEO, Rolls-Royce Power Systems. Both the Series 4000 and the Series 2000 are to be certified to run on sustainable fuels from 2023. “Sustainable fuels are putting carbon-neutral mobility and power generation well within reach, even using internal combustion engines,” added COO Dr Otto Preiss.

Recently, Series 4000 marine engines have reached the pinnacle of emissions regulations with EPA Tier 4 certification. The fact that these emission limits vary depending on engine application and country of use is an additional challenge for developers.

“We’re constantly enhancing these engines, and if you look at a Series 4000 or Series 2000 engine today, we’ve redesigned most of the components to meet the higher requirements in terms of power output, consumption and emissions,” said Buecheler.

Nevertheless, the engines have retained their typical look and external dimensions, because one thing has always been important to the engineers: the appearance of the engines, and thus the interfaces to customer applications, were to change as little as possible to enable repowering with newer engines. 

Both series 4000 engines are used in many different applications, with varying power ratings. The Series 4000 is available with 8, 12, 16 or 20 cylinders, and with power outputs ranging from 720 to 4,300 kW. The Series 2000 is available in 8, 10, 12, 16 or 18-cylinder configurations, and with power outputs ranging from 452 to 1,939 kW. The two engines share a common platform which allows them to be configured easily for their respective applications.

The gas-powered version of the Series 4000 was launched in 1999, just three years after the diesel – as a stationary engine for power generation, but made its début in mobile marine applications in July 2020. Since then, it’s been powering two ferries in the Netherlands run by operator Doeksen. The mtu gas engines come in considerably below the limits imposed by current emission standards (IMO III) even without exhaust gas aftertreatment. Particulate mass is below detectable levels, and they emit zero sulphur oxide and only small quantities of nitrogen oxides.

A focus of future engine development work will continue to be minimising pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to releasing the engines for sustainable fuels, the increasing use of the 2000 and 4000 series engines in hybrid systems is an important development goal.

“The Series 2000 and Series 4000 are not just successful products right now, we also want to move with them into climate neutrality and refine them so sustainably that we can celebrate their half-century in 25 years’ time,” said Schell.

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