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LPG fuel supply system tested

Wärtsilä says system is the first to undergo engine testing

Technology group Wärtsilä says its LPG Fuel Supply System (LFSS) has successfully completed full scale testing with a full sized 2-stroke marine engine burning liquid petroleum gas (LPG) as fuel.

According to Wärtsilä this was the world’s first such testing protocol. It was initially decided to retrofit the Wärtsilä LFSS to four very large gas carrier (VLGC) vessels owned by Oslo-listed BW LPG, the world’s largest gas shipping company.


However, following the tests, in which the performance exceeded expectations, BW LPG decided to exercise its option to retrofit an additional four vessels, making a total of eight ships to use this technology. The initial order with Wärtsilä was placed in December 2018, and the order for the four additional retrofits was signed in February 2020.


Wärtsilä is the designated system integrator for the retrofittings. This involves not only the installation of the LFSS, but also the required ship design modifications, integration of the LFSS control system into the ships’ integrated automation system (IAS), and acting as the coordinator between the yard, the engine manufacturer, and the owner.


“The use of LPG as a marine fuel is likely to increase in the future, and a high quality, reliable, supply system is essential if this is to happen,” says Peter Zürcher, Project Manager, Wärtsilä Marine. Project to assess suitability of bio-based fuels for ships Finland’s VTT Technical Research Centre is working on a three-year Business Finland BioFlex project with partners to determine whether fuel oils made from biomass and waste plastics are suitable for power plant and marine diesel engine use.


VTT says the aim is to determine the most ecologically and economically sustainable way to replace fossil fuels.


The BioFlex project has a budget of EUR 1.6 million and is co-financed by, along with Business Finland and VTT, the participating companies: fuel oil producers, users and equipment manufacturers. The companies involved include Auramarine, Fortum, Neste, Pohjanmaan Hyötyjätekuljetus, Polartek, St1, Valmet and Wärtsilä.

“Our goal is to find the most ecologically and economically sustainable way to replace fossil heavy fuel oil in ship and power plant diesel engines.

We compare different methods of industrially producing fuel oils from, for example, waste plastics or biomass, such as harvest residues from forestry and agriculture. We are also conducting experiments to examine the suitability of the oils for applications”, says Senior Principal Scientist Anja Oasmaa from VTT.

In addition to seeking a sustainable solution for the production of load-following capacity, the BioFlex project also aims to support the objective of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to halve greenhouse gas emissions from marine traffic by 2050.


“The use of bio-oils is still limited, mainly for cost and availability reasons, and I expect the project to address these factors. It is very important that the subject is researched together to identify all potential challenges throughout the manufacturing, distribution and consumption chain. Every effort must be made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and bio-oils will play a significant role in this battle going forward”, says CTO Ilkka Rytkölä from Auramarine, a supplier of fuel injection systems.


VTT says it is bringing to the project its expertise in sustainable development, analytics, diesel engine emission measurement, and thermal conversion methods used in the liquefaction of biomass and waste plastics. These include pyrolysis and HTL, or hydrothermal liquefaction, among others. The aim is also to utilise the expert networks of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

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