SeaTech, a Wärtsilä-led consortium that includes six other industry and academic partners, has been awarded EU funding for a major project aimed at reducing fuel consumption and lowering emissions levels for shipping
The project consortium was formed to develop two symbiotic engine and propulsion innovations that, when combined, could lead to a 30% reduction in fuel consumption. The project also envisions a 99% reduction in emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), a 46% reduction in CO2 emissions, and a 94% reduction in particulate matter emissions.
The proposed engine power generation innovation is built around achieving ultra-high energy conversion efficiency. It involves precisely controlling the engine to achieve reductions in exhaust emissions levels.
The renewable energy-based propulsion innovation is a biomimetic dynamic wing mounted at the bow of the ship to help propel the vessel in moderate and heavy sea conditions. By capturing wave energy, extra thrust is produced and ship motions are dampened. Biomimetics is the imitation of models that occur in nature for the purpose of solving problems. For instance, aircraft wing design is inspired by bird flight.
Commercialisation is the ultimate objective of the project, as it aims to make both innovations operational. This is planned for the European and Asian shortsea markets by 2025, followed by expansion into the deepsea market.
Wärtsilä Marine director of research & technology Jonas Åkerman said “Efficiency and environmental sustainability are the defining characteristics of the new era for shipping, and this project provides significant support for this trend.”
The EU has backed sustainable shipping efforts. The new EU Green Deal states that renewable energy will play an essential role in the future. Efforts, like the Autoship project, have also received EU backing. The Autoship project aims to remotely operate ships from land and over large geographical areas.
The SeaTech project partners are Wärtsilä, Huygens Engineer BV from the Netherlands, Estonian company Liewenthal Electronics, Utkilen AS from Norway, the National Technical University of Athens, UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the UK’s University of Southampton. Wärtsilä is the co-ordinator of the three-year project, which will run until 2023.