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WÄRTSILÄ LAUNCHES MAJOR TEST PROGRAMME FOR CARBON-FREE FUELS

WÄRTSILÄ LAUNCHES MAJOR TEST PROGRAMME FOR CARBON-FREE FUELS

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 

Wärtsilä is to step up its comprehensive testing programme for hydrogen and ammonia as viable engine fuels through advanced testing in the company's fuel-flexible combustion engines.

Hydrogen and ammonia contain no carbon, meaning the combustion releases no CO2 emissions. Full-scale engine tests have been recently carried out in Wärtsilä's engine laboratory in Vaasa, Finland, to assess the optimum engine parameters for running on these fuels. The test results are very encouraging, with one test engine performing very well when running on a fuel with 70% ammonia content at a typical marine load range. Tests were completed successfully on another engine in pure hydrogen operation.

Testing will continue throughout the coming years with the aim of defining the most feasible internal combustion engine-based solutions in both energy and marine applications, thereby enabling the transition to a decarbonised future with green fuels.

For the marine market, the company expects to have an engine running on an ammonia blend before the end of 2021. Wärtsilä anticipates having an engine concept with pure ammonia fuel in 2023.

Håkan Agnevall, CEO Wärtsilä said: “These are milestone moments in Wärtsilä’s transition to future fuels. Society will have to invest significant amounts into the infrastructure needed to develop green hydrogen, but those investments require market-ready engines that can run on the fuel once it is readily available. The energy and marine industries are on a decarbonisation journey, and the fuel flexibility of the engines powering these sectors is key to enable the transformation."

Wärtsilä is developing ammonia storage and supply systems as part of the EU’s ShipFC project. The company has already gained significant experience with ammonia from designing cargo handling systems for LPG carrier vessels, many of which are used to transport ammonia. In addition, Wärtsilä will begin testing ammonia in a marine four-stroke combustion engine together with customers Knutsen OAS, Repsol Norway and Equinor at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre in Stord, Norway, as part of the Demo2000 project.

Wärtsilä says its fuel agnostic approach enables the company to support the industry on sustainable and efficient, future fuel strategies in several cost-optimal steps. For example, hydrogen can be used as a fuel in its existing state or as a raw material for producing a wide range of future fuels, including ammonia and synthetic methane, each of which has different benefits. The company’s engines can currently run on natural gas, biogas, synthetic methane or hydrogen blends of up to 25% hydrogen. Another important part of the way forward is that Wärtsilä engines will be capable of transitioning to future fuels, including pure hydrogen and ammonia, future-proofing customer assets.

Mikael Wideskog, Director of Sustainable Fuels and Decarbonisation, Wärtsilä Marine Power, said: “Wärtsilä is united in its aim of limiting climate change to below 2 degrees, and the development of engines capable of running on future fuels is crucial to that. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set a target to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by 50% by 2050, compared to 2008 levels. In addition, a target has been set to reduce the carbon intensity of shipping by 40% by 2030, thus emphasising the need for the rapid introduction of existing and new smart technologies. Our successful engine testing will help us to consider a variety of future fuels and determine the optimum use case for each sustainable fuel.”

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