Innovations, research and development
Research and development expenditure totalled EUR 164 million (165) during the review period January-December, which represents 3.2% of net sales (3.2). The key focus areas included digitalisation, efficiency improvement, fuel flexibility, and the reduction of environmental impact.
The Wärtsilä 31 engine application range was expanded during the year, with the Wärtsilä 31SG pure gas engine being made available to the marine sector, and applications for the Wärtsilä 31DF multi-fuel engine being extended to include power generation markets. The Wärtsilä 31SG engine further reduces the total cost of ownership and the environmental footprint for vessels operating in regions where there is a developed gas supply infrastructure. The gas-only focus and lean-burn spark ignition technology allows for further optimisation of the engine’s thermal efficiency, while also lowering greenhouse gas emissions and facilitating adaptations for alternative heavier gas fuels, such as LPG. The Wärtsilä 31SG engine is ideally suited for hybrid applications, since it provides outstanding thermal efficiency. It also enables investment cost reductions that help offset the additional cost of energy storage. The Wärtsilä 31DF engine, in turn, offers unequalled open-cycle efficiency, fuel flexibility, and unparalleled dynamic operational features for markets where a gas supply is anticipated but not yet available, or where there are concerns about the availability or price of gaseous fuels.
For the energy markets, Wärtsilä launched Engine+ Hybrid Energy, a solution that pairs engines with energy storage to form a fully integrated, automated system providing reliable and environmentally sound power generation with improved efficiency for the operators and power producers of islanded grids. The solution serves load requirements instantly, addresses step changes and intermittencies, and provides spinning reserves. GEMS, the control platform, automatically dispatches available assets and takes into account any operational constraints to ensure optimal operation. Wärtsilä also introduced its Modular Block power plant solution. This pre-fabricated, modularly configured, and expandable enclosure for Wärtsilä medium-speed 34SG gas engine generators enables the reduction of on-site installation time from several months to a few weeks. The solution makes Wärtsilä’s advanced medium-speed engine technology available for applications where it would not be viable with a conventional custom-designed permanent building.
Digital developments included the launch of Wärtsilä Online, a new web-based customer platform aimed at providing a state-of-the-art support service that allows customers to better manage their installed assets. Wärtsilä Online enables mobile usage, new features for smart maintenance management, and real-time collaboration. Wärtsilä also introduced a digital version of Operim – Operational Performance Improvement & Monitoring, the new Navi-Planner voyage planning and optimisation solution, as well as the Expert Insight predictive maintenance product. By digitally augmenting physical products through the addition of data collection capabilities and cloud-based analytics, Operim enables improvements in operational performance through the continuous monitoring of and reporting on the key performance indicators, along with virtual instrumentation. The collected data are delivered to the system’s user in real-time, thereby allowing appropriate and timely manual or autonomous decision-making in a predictive or adaptive manner. Developed by Transas, a Wärtsilä company, Navi-Planner makes use of the connected Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) to significantly shorten voyage planning and to provide a minimum navigational safety standard for a less experienced crew. Expert Insight enables customer support to be delivered proactively by Wärtsilä Expertise Centres to ensure long-term accurate insight for their predictive maintenance strategies. The solution leverages artificial intelligence and advanced diagnostics to monitor equipment and systems in real-time, enabling enhanced safety, reliability, and efficiency.