Technology firm Wärtsilä has developed a control software upgrade for its W34DFB engine variants that can cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by as much as 50% depending on the engine load, it says.
The engine has a dual-fuel capability feature which enables vessels to switch seamlessly between conventional liquid fuels and liquefied natural gas (LNG) without impacting power or speed.
“Wärtsilä is constantly working to develop new emissions-reduction technologies that can also be applied to our existing engine portfolio,” explains Marko Huhmarsalo, Senior Product Manager, W32/W34 Platform Engines, Wärtsilä Finland.
“The Wärtsilä 34DF is already a very eco-efficient engine and is IMO Tier III compliant. For vessels operating at constant speeds, this upgrade not only reduces the total hydrocarbon (THC) emissions, but it also improves the gas consumption efficiency, achieving efficiency gains of 2.5% at 100% load.”
The upgrade, which is based on Wärtsilä’s adaptive combustion phasing control technology, works by marginally reducing the engine’s charge air pressure and lambda – the air-fuel ratio in the combustion chamber – in order to reduce unburned THC emissions, often referred to as methane slip.
It is Engine International Air Pollution Prevention (EIAPP) certified and has been approved by the major classification societies.
As an option Wärtsilä can also provide emissions measurements before and after the upgrade in order to demonstrate the achieved reductions.
Implementing the upgrade involves a Wärtsilä technician coming onboard the vessel for a day or two to install the new software module.
The engine needs to be taken offline only while the upgrade is being installed, after which the technician remains onboard to monitor the engine’s performance at different loads.
“Behind this upgrade, there are many years of software development, lab testing and field validation, so customers operating the Wärtsilä 34DF can rest assured that the benefits we promise will be delivered,” Huhmarsalo says.
“Each and every upgrade package is configured by our technical experts beforehand based on the vessel’s engine type and the vessel’s operational profile.
“While this upgrade of course involves an initial financial outlay for the customer, the payback comes in the form of an enhanced ability to secure new business for a vessel based on its environmental performance.
“For vessels operating in areas that are subject to increasingly strict environmental legislation, the challenge is now less about finding ways to operate as economically as possible and more about how to reduce emissions to ensure viable operations well into the future.”
Photo credit: Wärtsilä
Published: 4 January, 2021
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