Wärtsilä, a technology group, has created an ultra-low emissions version of its Wärtsilä 31DF engine that can reportedly reduce methane emissions by 41 per cent.
When running on LNG, this improved version may reduce methane emissions by up to 56 per cent and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by up to 86 per cent at 50 per cent load.
The new version of Wärtsilä 31DF engine , which is used on one of Wasaline’s four engines on the Aurora Botnia ferry, has reportedly helped the Finnish-Swedish ferry operator decrease methane emissions by 10 per cent.
As part of the EU co-funded Green Ray and SeaTech projects, Wärtsilä piloted the ultra-low emissions concept onboard the Aurora Botnia with reportedly good results verified through an independent study conducted in December 2022 by VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland.
Encouraged by the encouraging findings, Wärtsilä has now commercialised the new ultra-low emissions variant of the Wärtsilä 31DF engine.
This newest cooperation is part of Wärtsilä and Wasaline’s long-term commitment to minimise emissions on the Aurora Botnia, the world’s most ecologically efficient RoPax ferry.
Peter Ståhlberg, Managing Director of Wasaline, commented: “We are very committed to decarbonisation, and we have worked closely with Wärtsilä to make sustainable shipping a reality. It is a goal-oriented partnership that benefits both companies, as well as the industry as a whole.
“We have been pleased to allow the ‘Aurora Botnia’ to be utilised as a floating laboratory, and we are excited to see the success of this latest Wärtsilä technology breakthrough.”
The Wärtsilä 31DF engine platform, which was introduced in 2015, already satisfies current regulatory requirements. The new version will allow operators to go even farther in decreasing methane emissions, helping to futureproof their vessels against possibly stricter worldwide standards in the long run.
Furthermore, upgrading dual fuel technology to reduce methane emissions will have a significant influence on LNG’s long-term viability as a maritime fuel.
Stefan Nysjö, Vice President of Power Supply, Wärtsilä Marine Power, said: “Our work around reducing methane slip and GHG emissions is part of Wärtsilä’s effort to continuously improve efficiency and reduce emissions of our products, and this new innovation is one more very important step along the road to decarbonisation.
“The building of an LNG fuel infrastructure has been an important factor in shipping’s transition towards cleaner operations, and Wärtsilä continues to create solutions that support this journey. Our focus has always been to improve and optimise existing solutions, and to develop exciting new ones. With this latest introduction, we are clearly delivering on this commitment.”
Although methane slip from engines is minor in percentage terms, it is substantially more effective than CO2 – up to 28 times more toxic.
Cutting methane emissions is one of the most effective approaches for the shipping sector to reduce overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from engines over the next ten years, complementing other initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions.