Wärtsilä launches major hydrogen and ammonia test program

This week Wärtsilä announced: i) some key updates in its ammonia and hydrogen-powered engine testing research to date and ii) some key upcoming milestones for its R&D program.

Engine testing at Wärtsilä.
Click to learn more. Source: Wärtsilä.

Full-scale engine tests have been recently carried out in Wärtsilä’s engine laboratory in Vaasa, Finland, to assess the optimum engine parameters for running on these fuels. The test results are very encouraging, with one test engine performing very well when running on a fuel with 70% ammonia content at a typical marine load range. Tests were also completed successfully on another engine in pure hydrogen operation.

Wärtsilä press release, 14 July 2021

As for key upcoming milestones:

Wärtsilä expects to have an engine and plant concept for pure hydrogen operation ready by 2025. For the marine market, the company expects to have an engine running on an ammonia blend already this year. Wärtsilä anticipates having an engine concept with pure ammonia fuel in 2023. In the energy sector, it is anticipated that green hydrogen will deliver 7 percent of the global energy demand by 2050.

Wärtsilä press release, 14 July 2021

Key ongoing collaborations

Wärtsilä also has two key ongoing collaborations in this space. As a member of the ShipFC project it will supply the ship-side ammonia system for the Viking Energy vessel. And, along with partners Repsol and Knutsen, Wärtsilä will test four-stroke maritime engines at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre in Norway (also HQ for the ShipFC project).

Wärtsilä’s CEO Håkan Agnevall sees ongoing engine R&D as crucial to the ammonia transition:

Society will have to invest significant amounts into the infrastructure needed to develop green hydrogen, but those investments require market-ready engines that can run on the fuel once it is readily available. The energy and marine industries are on a decarbonisation journey, and the fuel flexibility of the engines powering these sectors is key to enable the transformation.”

Håkan Agnevall, CEO of Wärtsilä in the press release, 14 July 2021
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