Innovating for sustainability
Wärtsilä’s purpose is to enable sustainable societies with smart technologies. As a global leader in complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets, Wärtsilä plays a key role in providing environmentally sound solutions and services that enable its customers to develop their businesses in a sustainable way. This forms the basis of the company's offering and sustainability approach, and is supported by its strong commitment to responsible business conduct.
Climate change, combined with the world's growing energy needs and the scarcity of natural resources, is increasing the demand for clean and flexible energy and the need for efficient and smart transportation. To secure its leading position at the forefront of sustainable innovation, Wärtsilä continuously invests in developing technologies that benefit the entire power system and marine ecosystem. Innovation and product development, plus the willingness to explore new technologies, are essential for meeting current customer needs, future requirements, and for remaining an industrial frontrunner.
Minimising environmental impact through R&D
Wärtsilä develops smart and sustainable solutions across a broad front, including technologies related to efficiency improvement, the reduction of gaseous and liquid emissions, waste reduction, noise abatement, as well as effluent and ballast water treatment. The company's proactive approach to meeting future demand has resulted in the development of both primary and secondary abatement technologies, and has broadened the range of usable fuels. Wärtsilä actively seeks to utilise opportunities provided by the digital transformation taking place in the maritime and energy sectors. Wärtsilä’s commitment to investing in research and product development benefits its customers as well as the environment, both in the short term and over a longer time span.
The key features of Wärtsilä's environmentally sound solutions include:
- Reliability, safety, and long life span
- Low emission levels
- Renewable energy integration with engines and storage systems
- Fuel flexibility
- Efficiency improvement with lower lifecycle costs
- Low water consumption
- Design and operational optimisation of vessels
By combining these key features, and understanding the system level benefits of its offering, Wärtsilä is able to provide solutions that enable the development of sustainable shipping and power systems.
Partnerships and innovations enhancing sustainability
In 2018, Wärtsilä announced several new R&D partnerships, such as with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore to promote maritime innovation and R&D, and Hyundai Motor Group to utilise second-life electric vehicle (EV) batteries for the growing energy storage market. During 2018 Eniram, a Wärtsilä company, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Athens-based Arista Shipping to participate in the Project Forward initiative, which aims to develop the cleanest and most efficient fleet of cargo ships in the world. Wärtsilä, together with Finland’s Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT) and Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), the largest electricity utility in the state of Nebraska, also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for developing a business case for the use of alternative fuels with Wärtsilä generating sets.
In 2018, Wärtsilä launched Future Innovation Days which comprised a gathering of marine industry stakeholders – ship owners, yards, ports, politicians, scientists, and students. These co-creation events were arranged to jointly solve notable industry challenges, such as zero emissions in shipping, producing, and storing clean energy, implementing smart vessels, ports, and a marine ecosystem, as well as new business models and the future of services. These first design thinking workshops were organized in Stord, Norway, Wuxi, China, and Hamburg, Germany. In Singapore and Shanghai, the events were combined also with the introduction of the An Oceanic Awakening initiative. As a result, 400 people attended, and 70 new idea concepts were co-created. In 2019, some of those ideas will be brought forward, and further developed in new events to be planned in Rotterdam, Seoul, Helsinki, Tokyo, Trieste, Panama, and Oslo. These events will also explore the paths of major cities towards 100% renewable energy.
Wärtsilä, together with three companies; Tieto, St1, and Fortum, as well as the think tank Demos Helsinki, introduced an Innovation Community initiative at the end of 2018. The goals of the community include building a vision and roadmap for accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources, and experimenting and bringing to market promising new initiatives.
During 2018, Wärtsilä developed, tested and launched several products, systems and solutions, which advance the company’s realisation of its Smart Marine and Smart Energy Visions. Among other things, Wärtsilä launched a new standardised energy storage solution, GridSolv, which is an advanced design offering maximum flexibility and speed of deployment. Wärtsilä also successfully tested its automated docking solution for vessels, which provides considerable value-adding benefits in terms of better efficiency, greater safety, lower fuel consumption and, therefore, reduced exhaust emissions. Without human intervention, the ferry was able during the tests to leave the dock, manoeuvre out of the harbour, sail to the next port of call, manoeuvre through the harbour entrance, and dock alongside the terminal. Among its other product introductions, Wärtsilä also introduced the first Wärtsilä-branded high-speed engine. The Wärtsilä 14 is a high-speed, compact engine designed to fit requirements for limited space and weight, lower capital expense, compliance with current and future global emissions regulations, and to provide customers with improved efficiency, safety, and environmental sustainability.