The marine and oil & gas industries are at the centre of converging megatrends, namely a move towards a more diverse and cleaner energy mix, increased transparency and accountability with regards to environmental performance, and a need to improve economic performance despite uncertainties in the global economy. For Wärtsilä it is clear that improved sustainability is central to addressing all these trends.
Wärtsilä is committed to becoming the most valued business partner of its customers. Thus it is essential for Marine Solutions to have sustainability at the very core of its product and solutions development. The company’s R&D and business development activities are based on a deep understanding of how these megatrends affect customers. The expansion and development of Wärtsilä’s offering to the marine and oil & gas industries over the years demonstrates the response made to the needs of customers. Gas, environmental compliance, and efficiency are the three pillars on which Marine Solutions builds its offering.
The shift towards natural gas
The global energy landscape is shifting towards a more diverse and sustainable energy mix, and natural gas – the cleanest fossil fuel – has a key role to play in this transition. The oil & gas industry has, during recent years, seen a dramatic rise in the demand for natural gas along with the increase in supply. The marine industry is also affected by this transition, with interest in the use of gas as a marine fuel rising sharply.
Wärtsilä develops products and services that enable the safe use, handling, and distribution of natural gas for the marine and oil & gas industries. Wärtsilä is the marine industry’s undisputed leader when it comes to gas-fuelled propulsion, with dual-fuel medium-speed engines ordered for more than 250 vessels and more than 12 million running hours accumulated in both land-based and marine applications. These milestones represent achievements that cannot be matched today by any other engine manufacturer. Thanks to a strong and safe track record in the use of gas as a marine fuel for LNG carriers, the industry is increasingly keen on expanding the use of LNG to other vessel types.
The benefits of using Wärtsilä’s well proven low-pressure dual-fuel technology are many:
- Emission reductions (when operating in gas mode): 85% less NOx, 99% less SOx, up to 99% reduction in particulates, 20-30% less CO2 emissions, and no smoke
- Fuel flexibility to enhance operational security and competitiveness, with the use of heavy fuel oil, marine diesel oil, bio fuels, and crude oil possible
- Capital expenditure reductions of 15-20%, since the use of low pressure technology means simpler (lower cost) gas handling systems, and no need for further exhaust gas cleaning systems
- Reduced waste streams (liquid waste)
- No need to use secondary emission reduction systems (and hence no consumption of reagents)
- Redundancy and safety
- Stable operation on gas fuel across the entire load range, with no need to switch to diesel fuel at low loads
- Lower consumption of pilot fuel (just 1% of the total fuel used).
Enabling the use of gas as a marine fuel means much more than merely applying a proven technology to gas engines. For Wärtsilä, it also means maintaining its leading position in the design of gas fuelled vessels, and offering reliable and competitive gas storage and handling systems. Wärtsilä also supports the development of the broader gas value chain in the oil & gas industry with, for instance, its liquefaction and regasification solutions.
The marine industry is undergoing the implementation of changes in order to comply with existing environmental regulations, while at the same time evaluating the possibilities for complying with upcoming regulations. Emissions to air (CO2, NOx, SOx, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOC), and others) and water are under scrutiny. Similarly, regulations relating to safe and clean operations are becoming stricter, especially for the oil & gas industry.
Wärtsilä offers a wide set of options for compliance with environmental regulations. All include working technologies, fast installation, and support throughout the company’s global network. Wärtsilä is committed to providing its customers and society at large with reliable and safe technologies for environmental compliance, which will be available for use as new regulations come into force. The company can also assist customers in evaluating the best options for compliance so as to adopt a solution that meets their specific operational needs.
In the marine industry, Wärtsilä’s offering for environmental compliance covers the following:
- For SOx and NOx compliance: gas propulsion, conversions to gas propulsion, NOx reducers, SOx scrubber systems, and retrofit services
- For ballast water compliance: products based on ultraviolet treatment and electro-chlorination technologies, and retrofit services
- For Energy Efficient Design Index (EEDI) compliance: improved efficiency of individual products and ship design
- For emissions to water compliance: waste water, bilge water, scrubber water, and sealing systems.
In addition to these, Wärtsilä’s offering to the oil & gas industry includes the following solutions to facilitate safe and clean operations:
- VOC recovery
- Flare gas recovery
- Inert gas and nitrogen systems
- Oil separation
- Waste water systems
- Oily and slop water cleaning
- Fresh water generation
- High pressure compressors.
Focus on efficiency
The global economic downturn has put enormous pressure on the cost structure of the marine industry in particular, while the oil & gas industry is also deeply affected by low oil prices. In the marine industry especially, the cost of fuel is a key driver for upgrading equipment, re-thinking operational profiles, and for new vessel designs. Investments in improved energy efficiency have both economic and improved environmental performance benefits.
Wärtsilä strives to optimise the lifecycle cost of installations. This is done because it makes economic sense to customers, and because of the company’s in-house understanding of the pressure for reducing costs and investing in developing products and solutions that will help achieve significant savings. Furthermore, improved efficiency results in better environmental performance.
For Wärtsilä, one way of improving efficiency is to continuously invest in renewing the product portfolio. During 2015, the Wärtsilä 31 engine was launched. The Wärtsilä 31 engine’s diesel fuel consumption is as low as 165 g/kWh, which is far lower than that of any other 4-stroke engine currently on the market. The engine can be operated using a range of different fuels, and comes in three alternative versions: diesel, dual-fuel, and spark-ignited gas. Wärtsilä also launched new ship designs (container feeder, AHTS, PSV, and LNG carrier designs) featuring exceptionally low fuel consumption, and a new WST-14 steerable thruster aimed at inland cargo waterway applications, which provides increased reliability and efficiency.