Swiss engine manufacturer WinGD has published a new whitepaper outlining its approach to decarbonisation and its development programmes in five related areas – advanced engine technologies, core engine development, green technologies, digitalisation and integration, and the autonomous engine room.
The paper, titled ‘The X-Act Initiative’, outlines various projects in the development of new engines and fuels, as well as technology systems to support emissions reduction.
“To decarbonise shipping at the pace that society demands, we must act immediately and across several areas. A coordinated approach across these efforts maximises the possibility that WinGD’s ecosystem of solutions will deliver the breakthroughs that shipping needs,” said Dominik Schneiter, Vice President Research & Development, WinGD.
On the digital side, the company looks at the use of digital twin technologies to improve engine design, simulating the behaviour of system elements so that models can be enhanced by machine learning and other tools relying on artificial intelligence, allowing developers to assess actual performance by comparing measured operational data with real-time simulated expected values.
The same concept is currently being applied in the WinGD integrated Digital Expert (WiDE) service, which incorporates a digital twin of the engine and uses an engine diagnostic system to evaluate performance, monitoring the status of key components, identifying deviations and analysing trends as a basis for troubleshooting.
The whitepaper also describes an ‘autonomous engine room’ in the context of an autonomous ship, building on these remote diagnostics and control systems to support autonomous operation. In the context of an autonomous ship, engine systems would need to be closely integrated with parallel and higher-level systems on board, with the entire infrastructure operating as a holistic unit.
“WinGD’s ambition to contribute towards the development of autonomous shipping is based on the potential seen in future smart shipping solutions. Smart engine controls and smart maintenance technologies provide direct benefit to operators,” the report says.
“Meanwhile, the data available directly from autonomous or partially autonomous vessels, or via intermediate processing and analysis, also offers new opportunities for an engine designer.”
“Complementing these data with own results obtained while developing, designing and validating technologies and products … will help WinGD to explore options for smarter design of components, key engine subsystems, engines and complete hybrid systems.”
The whitepaper is available here.