A major cross-industry initiative to develop basic technologies for use in two- and four-stroke marine engines has been officially launched
Led by Wärtsilä, MAN Diesel & Turbo, and Winterthur Gas & Diesel, the Hercules-2 project aims to foster environmentally sustainable and more efficient shipping. It is in line with general policy of the European Union, which is partly funding it.
Altogether, 32 marine industry partners from 11 different companies, 16 universities, and five research organisations are co-operating in this project, which is being co-ordinated by the National Technical University of Athens.
The research and development (R&D) efforts will focus on four main areas: the application of alternative fuels and the optimisation of fuel flexibility to facilitate seamless switching between different fuels; the development of new materials to support high-temperature component applications; the development of adaptive control methodologies to significantly improve an engine’s performance throughout its lifespan; and to achieve near-zero emissions with combined, integrated after-treatment of exhaust gases.
According to Ilari Kallio, Wärtsilä’s vice president of engine R&D, “The greatest of the many benefits stemming from Hercules-2 will be the development of new technologies that have a positive impact on our customers’ profitability. Another is the significant contribution this project will make to more environmentally sustainable shipping.”
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Soren Jensen, MAN Diesel & Turbo vice president and head of R&D, said, “Hercules-2 is a strong platform that will create a basis for the development of technologies applicable to ship engines in four to five years’ time. We have, therefore, positive expectations and look forward to collaborating with so many cross-industry partners.”
Winterthur Gas & Diesel’s vice president of R&D, Rien Hoogerbrugge, sees Hercules-2 as an important opportunity. “This project enables the partners to combine know-how by bringing together scientists from various fields and institutions to investigate concepts, and to develop robust technologies for application on different types of engines”
The Hercules-2 project is scheduled to run for three years and follows the Hercules R&D programme for large engine technologies, which was originally conceived in 2004 by Wärtsilä and MAN Diesel & Turbo. The Hercules-2 technologies will eventually be employed aboard large ships.