Wärtsilä to launch 2-stroke future fuels conversion solution, test tech with MSC

Finnish technology group Wärtsilä revealed plans to commercially launch its Two-Stroke Future Fuels Conversion platform during the first quarter of 2022.

Photo: Wärtsilä

The engine combustion technology platform will enable the fast and cost-effective conversion of two-stroke main engines to operate on clean-burning future fuels, according to Wärtsilä.

This is seen as a major step in the maritime industry’s efforts to achieve decarbonised shipping operations, while the easy retrofitting will avoid owners having to face long off-hire charter time.

As explained, the retrofit conversion will initially enable operation with currently available LNG fuel, most importantly with negligible methane slip from the engine. The modular design of this concept provides a platform that will be further developed in order to allow for the adoption of alternative green fuels or fuel blends when they become commercially available.

The development programme has recently been concluded with successful initial engine tests in the Wärtsilä two-stroke engine laboratory in Trieste.

Ship manager MSC Shipmanagement, part of Swiss shipping giant Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has collaborated with Wärtsilä throughout the development as a key partner in the piloting and advancement of the platform towards future fuel applications. Representatives from MSC were in attendance during some of the testing procedures.

Roger Holm, President Marine Power & EVP Wärtsilä Corporation, said that the flexibility of the solution means that the first step towards adopting the use of future fuels can be taken now knowing that the investment will not become obsolete. He added that both economic and environmental benefits are significant.

“We have been following the development of this innovative conversion solution with high interest and we regard it as a supporting element in MSC’s journey towards net zero decarbonisation by 2050, Prabhat Jha, CEO & Group Managing Director MSC Shipmanagement, commented.

“Together with Wärtsilä we have high expectations for the next steps of this initiative, which starts with technology demonstration on one of our larger container vessels with a Wärtsilä RT-flex96C-B main engine, and which will continue to make our existing fleet ready to meet future emissions needs.”

A world-first feature of the concept is the cryogenic fuel supply system, which together with a revolutionary injection system is said to provide flexible and optimised operational performance under all conditions. Among the other notable benefits delivered by this future-proofing solution are the capability to comply with upcoming environmental regulations and therefore providing assets with an extended operational life.

The conversion solution is aimed at vessels operating with two-stroke, electronically controlled engines. The first commercial conversion project is expected to be completed by mid-2023. The conversion concept is applicable to both large- and smaller bore engine types.