WinGD aims to help the industry navigate a pathway to reduced emissions through innovative low-pressure gas technology
WinGD’s heritage dates back to the founding of Winterthur, Switzerland-based Sulzer Corporation’s diesel business, established in 1893 with an agreement between the Sulzer brothers and Rudolf Diesel. The company’s current form dates to 2015, when Wärtsilä’s low-speed twin-stroke engine business was acquired by China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and renamed Winterthur Gas & Diesel Ltd (WinGD) short.
The company has since built on its reputation as a leading developer of low-speed gas and diesel engines for all vessel types including oil and product tankers, bulk carriers, car carriers, general cargo ships and container ships.
Its X-DF dual-fuel engines are based on the lean-burn principle known as the Otto cycle, in which premixed fuel and air is burned at a high air-to-fuel ration. This offers advantages over high-pressure gas engines such as reduced NOx emissions and EEDI Tier III compliant without the need for exhaust gas treatment or scrubber systems, and reduced particulate matter emissions compared to diesel engines. These benefits – alongside lower capex and opex - have seen low-pressure gas technology widely adopted for medium- and low-speed engines.
The company marked the end of 2019 with the launch of two new lines of engines, which were announced at a special customer day held in Shanghai on 2 December, ahead of the Marintec trade fair and exhibition.
WinGD’s global director of sales, Volkmar Galke sat down with Marine Propulsion at Marintec to discuss exciting trends in engine development and what the future holds in store.
Looking at alternative fuels and the challenges posed by the 2030 emissions targets, Mr Galke says: “The clear message for us is that LNG is the fuel for the next decade, supported by a robust infrastructure. Our proven experience with it means we are in a good position to help support owners who are not sure what route to follow.”
Singling out the box ship market when it comes to LNG, he says: “The container giants realise that if they want to transport goods in an environmentally sustainable way, LNG is the best route to take. LNG is the fuel that everyone in the container ship market is talking about.”
“It really is the only logical choice at the moment; giant vessels have a completely different demand on the volume – they need to be bunkering 18,000 m3 of fuel. Which other alternative fuel is available and scalable in this amount except LNG?”
“As for 2050, this cannot be achieved with fossil fuels – no fuel currently available will be able to meet these goals. At WinGD we have the capacity to test any potential future fuels in our test engines, but it will be non fossil-based fuels produced from green sources that get us to the 2050 targets.”
Mr Galke also notes that along with the ability to produce hydrogen using renewable energy, synthetic LNG produced using similar technology could also be possible, which could be used in the same way as fossil-based LNG, in the same engines.
“Batteries, fuel cells and related technologies will all play a role too. But for deep-sea shipping and merchant vessels, batteries and fuel cells are currently too heavy”
“I also think it won’t just be a mix of technology, it might also be a mix of fuels for the engine. For instance, hydrogen as a fuel in gas engines has already proven to be very promising with a drop of 5-10% hydrogen into the gas,” says Mr Galke, adding: “We’re only in 2020 but the potential for us as engine designers to explore this and other possibilities is immense. I think over the next 20 years we will be a part of some exciting developments.
The company is also set to further enhance its offerings with the launch the X-DF 2.0, engine technology which will reduce fuel and gas consumption, and reduces methane slip by 30-40%. “This our second-generation low-speed, low-pressure gas engine,” says Mr Galke. “We have more than 320,000 operating hours on our X-DF engines now so from this experience and from requests from the market, we have seen opportunities to enhance our offerings.”
“Some testing has already been performed which appear promising, and we are now working on implementing X-DF 2.0 into a pilot installation on a vessel in 2020, targeting delivery of the first X-DF 2.0 series of engines to shipyards in 2021.”