Wärtsilä Corporation will install a new natural gas powered test engine in the Trieste engine laboratory in Italy this month, as part of its program to develop reliable environmentally friendly engines for commercial shipping. The company says the marine market is today characterised by a growing awareness of the need for alternative fuel solutions that can reduce emissions while, at the same time, being commercially viable. Natural gas is currently the alternative fuel offering the biggest potential in this respect. LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) has also attracted some interest but is not a commercially viable alternative due to its prohibitive price.
“We believe the time is now right to further develop our natural gas solutions for the Merchant fleet at large. Of course, we are aware of the challenges to be overcome as bunkering facilities are not yet in place for starters. A number of other practical challenges need to be addressed, but companies such as SeaCargo have led the way showing the market that it can be done. Others will no doubt follow,” says Lars Anderson, Vice President at Wärtsilä Ship Power Merchant.
In a shipping market with alternative bunkers available, dual-fuel engine installations offer the flexibility much sought after by operators. With dual-fuel engines, operators are free to switch between gas or diesel fuels, depending upon price and bunkering availability.
Wärtsilä’s DF marine installations alone have accumulated over 1,000,000 running hours, with close to 60 vessels in service.
This article compiled using information from a Wärtsilä Corporation press release.