Wärtsilä working on pure hydrogen/ammonia combustion engines
Wärtsilä said today it aims to have an engine and plant concept powered by pure hydrogen ready by 2025 to serve the energy market, and an engine concept on pure ammonia fuel in 2023 for the marine market.
The company has already completed some full-scale engine tests at its lab in Vaasa, Finland, and these have produced “very encouraging” results. The tests aimed to set optimum combustion engine parameters for hydrogen and ammonia use, and included successful tests with 70% ammonia fuel at a typical marine load range, and tests with pure hydrogen.
“Testing will continue throughout the coming years with the aim of defining the most feasible internal combustion engine-based solutions for power plant and marine applications, thereby enabling the transition to a decarbonised future with green fuels,” the company said.
Wärtsilä expects to have an engine running on an ammonia blend already this year. Currently, its engines can use natural gas, biogas, synthetic methane or blends containing up to 25% hydrogen.
As part of the EU’s ShipFC project, the company is also developing ammonia storage and supply systems, and it is preparing to test ammonia in a marine four-stroke combustion engine together with Knutsen OAS, Repsol Norway and Equinor as part of the Demo2000 project.
“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,” commented CEO Hakan Agnevall.
Wärtsilä sees the use of green hydrogen in combustion engines as key to enable a 100% renewables future without grid balancing issues.