Wärtsilä, technology group, along with a consortium with six more industry and academic partners, received an award funded by the EU for a project aimed at reducing fuel consumption and decreasing emission levels for the shipping industry.
Specifically, the SeaTech project was formed for the development of two symbiotic ship engine and propulsion innovations that when combined, could lead to a 30% reduction in fuel consumption.
In the meantime, the project aims at 99% reductions in emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), a 46% reduction in CO2 emissions, and a 94% reduction in particulate matter emissions.
The proposed engine power generation innovation is developed around achieving ultra-high energy conversion efficiency, including precise controlling of the engine to achieve radical reductions in exhaust emission levels. The renewable energy based propulsion innovation is a biomimetic dynamic wing mounted at the bow of the ship to augment propulsion in moderate and heavy sea conditions. By capturing wave energy, extra thrust is produced and ship motions are dampened.
The overall goal of the project is to upscale both innovations and to demonstrate them in relevant operational environments.
In light of the project, Project Owner Jonas Åkerman, Director of Research & Technology Development, Wärtsilä Marine commented that
Efficiency and environmental sustainability are the defining characteristics of the new era for shipping, and this project provides significant support for this trend.
In addition, through the project, retrofitting and subsequent maintenance of the innovations will be simplified, and the return on investment (RoI) for owners is expected to be approximately 400%. This high return results from the savings in fuel and operational costs.
The commercialization of the developments is expected to be conducted in the European and Asian short-sea markets by 2025, followed thereafter by expansion into the deep-sea market.
Under the possibility that just 10% of EU short-sea vessels were to be retrofitted with Sea Tech, 32.5 million tons of CO2 would be eliminated annually, the equivalent of emissions from 200,000 passenger cars. Related benefits would be notable savings in health care costs, and the indirect creation of jobs in the shipbuilding industry.
Finally, the expected complimentary and synergistic effects of deploying both innovations on short-sea vessels will be modelled using data from the demonstrations with the help of a customised advanced data analytics framework.
Overall, Wärtsilä has joined forces with Huygens Engineer BV from the Netherlands, the Estonian company Liewenthal Electronics, Utkilen AS from Norway, the National Technical University of Athens, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, and the UK’s University of Southampton. Wärtsilä is the coordinator of the 3-year project, which will run until 2023.
Other ‘green efforts’ from Wärtsilä: