Wärtsilä and the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) are the main contributors to a new technology research programme focused on developing propulsion systems that are specifically for vessels deployed in arctic conditions.
The ArTEco (Arctic Thruster Ecosystem) project is to be supported fully by ten industrial and academic partners from Finland and around the world.
The project is expected to last three years, starting in 2015 and ending in 2017 and will consist of creating state-of-the-art simulation and load determining methods for dynamic loading conditions; researching possibilities for dampening dynamic loads; researching the use of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants in propulsion products; and researching new sensor technology for components used in propulsion products.
The new technology that is expected to emerge from this project will have the potential to significantly improve the competitiveness of solutions, in terms of cost, size and reliability, compared to products currently available. This will be aided through the creation of a technology demonstrator, i.e. a large-scale prototype, to be used for validating the technology within the project. This will take place at the Wärtsilä Propulsion Test Centre in Tuusula, Finland.
The main focus will be on developing an Extreme Value Thruster to demonstrate quantum leaps in thruster technologies. Wärtsilä states that this research will "form the foundation of an extended and highly advanced product portfolio." The programme has a budget of EUR 7.5 million.
Arto Lehtinen, vice president, propulsion, Wärtsilä Ship Power. “The challenge to create increasingly reliable and competitive solutions is ongoing. Wärtsilä has a duty to its customers to ensure that its R&D activities are supported by the best tools, technologies and partners so as to develop the best solutions. The creation of this project consortium will help us maintain our position as an innovator and technology leader within the marine sector. In particular, the state-of-the-art simulation methods and the possibility to carry out full scale validation of our new products will keep us at the forefront of new technology development.”