Wärtsilä begins advanced hydrogen and ammonia testing

Wärtsilä begins advanced hydrogen and ammonia testing
Full-scale tests are being carried out by the Wärtsilä’s engine laboratory team in Vaasa to assess the optimum engine parameters for running on hydrogen and ammonia fuels. Image courtesy of Wärtsilä Corporation.

Wärtsilä is carrying out advanced full-scale engine testing of hydrogen and ammonia at its engine laboratory in Vaasa, Finland to assess the optimum engine parameters for running on these fuels as shipping works towards a carbon-free future.

The test results are encouraging according to Wärtsilä, with one test engine performing very well when running on a fuel with 70 per cent ammonia content at a typical marine load range. Tests were also completed successfully on another engine in pure hydrogen operation.

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.

For the marine market, Wärtsilä expects to have an engine running on an ammonia blend already this year. Wärtsilä anticipates having an engine concept with pure ammonia fuel in 2023.

Håkan Agnevall, CEO of Wärtsilä said: “These are milestone moments in Wärtsilä’s transition to future fuels. 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.”

Wärtsilä is also developing ammonia storage and supply systems as part of the EU’s ShipFC project.

The company 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. In addition, Wärtsilä 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.