Wärtsilä, the marine industry’s leading solutions provider, has now been contracted to supply Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel propulsion engines to 100 Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Carrier vessels. This notable milestone was recently passed with the supply of a LNG carrier in a South Korean shipyard. The 100 LNG Carriers represent approximately one quarter of the current global fleet.
Wärtsilä’s advanced dual-fuel technology was first launched in the early 1990s for use in land-based power plant applications. The first marine installation of the 50DF engine came a decade later. The technology enables the engine to be operated on either natural gas, light fuel oil (LFO), or heavy fuel oil (HFO), and switching between fuels can take place seamlessly during operation, without loss of power or speed. This ensures safety and continuous installation operability. The Wärtsilä 50DF engine is designed to have the same output regardless of the fuel used.
The fitting of Wärtsilä 50DF engines onboard the first LNG Carriers in 2006 set a trend in the industry. Since that introduction, 65 percent of all new LNG Carriers have been fitted with Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines. One of the reasons for the strong success of this particular engine over the alternatives is its superior propulsion efficiency. The clear environmental advantages that operating on gas allows, is another factor in the success of this technology. When operating in gas mode, the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are at least 85 percent below those specified in the current IMO regulations, and CO2 emissions are some 25 percent less than those of a conventional marine engine running on diesel fuel. Additionally, the sulphur oxide (SOx) and particle emissions are negligible at almost zero percent.
“This is indeed an important milestone for Wärtsilä, and for the shipping industry as a whole. It confirms not only our leading position in the LNG transportation sector, but also the viability of Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines. They have demonstrated that they are a solid and reliable choice for owners and operators, enabling easy adaptation to different sailing patterns, in both arctic and tropical conditions, and to various operational profiles,” says Lars Anderson, Vice President, Wärtsilä Ship Power, Merchant.
Other marine sectors following the trend
In addition to its success in the LNG Carrier market, the Wärtsilä 50DF engine is increasingly being considered by owners and operators throughout the shipping industry. For example, in the cruise and ferry sector, where it is often necessary to operate in Emission Control Areas (ECAs), there is growing awareness of the advantages of operating on gas. The new Viking Line ferry to operate between Finland and Sweden will be the largest ferry in the world operating on gas.
Similarly, vessels serving the offshore oil and gas industry are increasingly being fitted with Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines. The need for flexibility, fuel efficiency, and compliance with stricter environmental regulations, are the drivers behind this trend.
To date Wärtsilä has sold some 720 DF engines, and has accumulated more than 5 million running hours of experience with this technology. This is far beyond anything offered by competitive engine manufacturers.
With environmental issues and fuel economy likely to be the future market drivers, Wärtsilä has recently expanded its merchant fleet equipment range to include solutions that address process efficiency and environmental compliance. As a result, it is now positioned as the most suitable systems provider for extended ship power solutions.
Following its recent acquisition of Hamworthy, Wärtsilä is established as a market leader in the LPG and LNG carrier markets for the reliquefaction of boil-off gas, with solutions that offer both economic and environmental advantages.
The Wärtsilä 50DF engine is manufactured in configurations from a 6-cylinder in-line version to an 18-cylinder version in V-configuration, giving 950/975 kW per cylinder and a total maximum mechanical output of 17,100 kW. The engine speed is 500 or 514 rpm with 50Hz and 60 Hz applications. The maximum thermal efficiency is higher than with any other gas engine.
Shipbuilding Tribune Staff, May 31, 2012; Image: wartsila