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MSC to Test Wartsila Retrofit Engine Conversion for Clean Future Fuels

Wartsila retrofit conversion process for existing ships to clean future fuels
MSC will work with Wartsila to test the conversion platform on one of its vessels (MSC file photo)

Published Nov 16, 2021 6:34 PM by The Maritime Executive

After successful tests working alongside MSC, Wartsila is preparing for the commercial launch of a future fuel conversion solution that they believe could be a critical piece of the industry need to address existing vessels as part of the effort to reduce and eliminate carbon emissions. After the commercial launch in the first quarter of next year, Wartsila anticipates that the first commercial conversion project will be completed by mid-2023.

According to Wartsila, the engine combustion technology platform will enable the fast and cost-effective conversion of main engines to operate on clean-burning future fuels. The conversion solution is aimed at vessels operating with two-stroke, electronically controlled engines and can be complemented with the Fuel Gas Supply System to provide a complete turnkey solution. The conversion concept will apply to both large- and smaller bore engine types.

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

“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,” says Prabhat Jha, CEO & Group Managing Director MSC Shipmanagement.

The conversion platform features a first of its kind cryogenic fuel supply system, which together with an injection system, provides flexible and optimized operational performance under all conditions. Wartsila reports that it will ease retrofitting to reduce long off-hire charter time and is also a future-proof solution that can comply with upcoming environmental regulations. It will extend the operational life of current vessels which has been a major consideration for the shipping industry.

“Wärtsilä has taken a leading position in the development and delivery of smart technology solutions that will accelerate the realization of our industry’s decarbonization ambitions,” says Roger Holm, President Marine Power & EVP Wärtsilä Corporation. “Its flexibility means that the first step towards adopting the use of future fuels can be taken now knowing that the investment will not become obsolete. The benefits, both economic and environmental, are significant.”

The development program was recently concluded with successful initial engine tests in the Wärtsilä two-stroke engine laboratory in Trieste. MSC Shipmanagement 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.
 

Wartsila says the platform will permit owners to future proof existing ships by using LNG currently and transitioning to future clean fuels when they become available (Wartsila)