The HERCULES project–investigating technology for higher-efficiency engines and ultra-low emissions–is complete after 43-months of cooperative research led by Wärtsilä Corporation and MAN Diesel.
With a budget of EUR 33 million, HERCULES (High Efficiency R&D on Combustion with Ultra-Low Emissions for Ships) required a multinational team of more than 40 European engine component suppliers, equipment manufacturers, universities, research institutions and shipping companies.
The project has been undertaken through a series of nine interrelated work packages, focusing on new engine design, combustion concepts, turbocharging systems, emissions reduction and emissions aftertreatment.
The results from HERCULES will allow the participating companies to develop marine diesel engines with technologies, components and equipment that will achieve drastically lower gaseous and particulate emissions, while at the same time gaining increased engine efficiency and reliability, thereby reducing fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and engine life-cycle costs. The results of the research are being shared among the participants and are expected to be incorporated in engines introduced during the next ten years or so.
MAN Diesel and Wärtsilä have proposed a follow-up to HERCULES in a new large-scale collaborative research project – HERCULES-B, which was announced in October 2006. A proposal was submitted in June 2007 and is expected to be evaluated by the end of September 2007.
The principal aim of the proposed HERCULES-B is to considerably improve the efficiency of marine diesel propulsion systems and achieve substantial reductions in fuel consumption and emissions. HERCULES-B is planned to reach beyond today’s limits set by the IMO, radically improving the environmental effect of waterborne transport.