Wartsila tests hydrogen and ammonia powered engines

Wartsila continues the ongoing transformation of the energy and marine sectors towards carbon-free solutions through its future fuel development work.

Wartsila (a Finnish supplier of power solutions to the marine and energy markets) has carried out full-scale advanced engine tests using hydrogen and ammonia as fuels at its engine laboratory in Vaasa, Finland.

The tests aim to assess the optimum engine parameters for running on these alternative fuels. The test results are very promising when running on fuel with 70% ammonia content at a typical marine load range. The company also completed tests where one engine was operated on pure hydrogen.

The company plans to continue conducting tests in the coming years to define the most feasible internal combustion engine-based solutions for power plant and marine applications, to support the transition to a decarbonised future with green fuels.

Wartsila aims to make an engine and plant concept for pure hydrogen operation ready by 2025. Wartsila’s gas engines are flexible with the capability of rapidly ramping up or down in power, which can support the power system to meet the required load, reaching full capacity with two minutes. The engines can currently run on natural gas, biogas, synthetic methane or hydrogen blends of up to 25% hydrogen.

The company expects to have an engine running on an ammonia blend this year for the marine market with an ambition to launch an engine concept with pure ammonia fuel in 2023. The company is also developing ammonia storage and supply systems as part of the EU’s ShipFC project. It has already gained significant experience with ammonia from designing cargo handling systems for liquid petroleum gas carrier vessels, many of which are used to transport ammonia.

Moreover, it will begin testing ammonia in a marine four-stroke combustion engine together with customers Knutsen OAS, Repsol Norway and Equinor at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre in Stord, Norway, as part of the Demo2000 project.

Håkan Agnevall, CEO of Wärtsilä, said, “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.”

He further added, “By developing engines that can run on green hydrogen, we are enabling that grid balancing can be done via a 100% renewable process, thereby enabling the energy systems of tomorrow.”

Mikael Wideskog, Director of Sustainable Fuels and Decarbonisation at Wärtsilä Marine Power, said, “Our successful engine testing will help us to consider a variety of future fuels and determine the optimum use case for each sustainable fuel.”

Ethan Mandel

Ethan is the special correspondent for Europe covering the hydrogen industry for H2 Bulletin. Please click on the email icon to contact me via email or follow me on social media. I am reachable on Phone: +44 (0) 208 123 7812
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