SeaTech project gets EU funding for vessel emission reduction tech

The SeaTech project, a consortium of maritime industry companies and academic partners formed to research fuel efficient propulsion methods, has been awarded EU funding to support the further development of its proposed systems.

The SeaTech project partners include Wärtsilä from Finland, Huygens Engineer from the Netherlands, the Estonian company Liewenthal Electronics, Utkilen from Norway, the National Technical University of Athens, UiT (The Arctic University of Norway), and the UK’s University of Southampton. Wärtsilä is the coordinator of the 3-year project, which will run until 2023.

The group says that it aims to develop two new ‘symbiotic’ ship engine and propulsion technologies that, when combined, could lead to a 30% reduction in fuel consumption, creating a 99% reduction in SOx and NOx emissions, a 46% reduction in CO2, and a 94% reduction in particulate matter.

The proposed engine power generation design is built around achieving ultra-high energy conversion efficiency through precise control of the engine, alongside a renewable energy-based propulsion system involving a biomimetic dynamic wing mounted at the bow of the ship to augment propulsion in moderate and heavy sea conditions. By capturing wave energy, extra thrust is produced and ship motions are dampened.

The ultimate objective of the project is to scale up both innovations and to demonstrate them in relevant operational environments, after which time data from their at-sea performance will be modelled with the help of a customised data analytics framework.

“Efficiency and environmental sustainability are the defining characteristics of the new era for shipping, and this project provides significant support for this trend,” said project owner Jonas Åkerman, Director of Research & Technology Development, Wärtsilä Marine.

“By working in close collaboration with highly competent partners, we intend to play an important role in facilitating a cleaner and more profitable future for the marine sector.”

Commercialisation of the new systems is planned to roll out in the European and Asian short-sea markets by 2025, followed by expansion into the deep-sea market.

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Rob O'Dwyer

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