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Wärtsilä Successfully Test Runs Engines on Renewable Fuels

Posted on May 27, 2009

Wärtsilä, a supplier of flexible power plants for the decentralized power generation market, has successfully performed a number of tests that demonstrate the ability of its engines to run on a range of vegetable and animal-based oils. This enables a wider range of renewable fuel options for the Wärtsilä engines, while at the same time enabling further CO2 emission reductions.

In the tests, conducted between February and April of this year at the VTT technical research center in Espoo, Finland, a Wärtsilä Vasa 4R32 engine successfully operated on jatropha oil, fish oil and chicken oil. The aim of these recent tests has been to assess the capability of engines to operate on renewable fuels that do not compete with agricultural uses.

"Liquid biofuels represent an emerging market. We see that fuel supply infrastructures for crude vegetable oils are being developed at an increasing pace, suggesting that the availability of such fuels will be vastly extended during the next 5 to 10 years. We provide technology that can use these new fuels, and we have demonstrated that the chain from fuel to electricity exists. In addition to commodity fuels, we see a significant potential in industry process side streams, such as, fish and chicken oils, which can used for generating renewable energy,” said Vesa Riihimäki, vice president, Power Plant Technology commenting on the future market for power plants running on liquid biofuels.

The first engine test with straight jatropha oil was performed in January 2009, with the engine being operated successfully on a batch of oil delivered from India. An additional test will be conducted later this summer on a further batch of jatropha oil imported from Tanzania. Fish oil was tested in February 2009 and showed that the engine performed in much the same way as when running on vegetable-based oils, and no further testing will be necessary for evaluation purposes at this stage. Chicken oil, a by-product of the rendering process of chicken, was tested in April 2009. During the test, the engine performed as expected.

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