Long-term research activities
The HERCULES β project
Hercules Beta was launched in September 2008 within the EUs 7th framework programme. This 36-month and EUR 26 million project is steered by two leading engine designers and manufacturers, Wärtsilä and MAN Diesel and Turbo, and it brings together 32 partners across Europe. Continuation of research under this framework will ensure the exploitation of the created know-how and partnerships within the first HERCULES project, and will penetrate into new areas. One aim of the project is to develop new technologies to reduce gaseous and particulate emissions from marine engines. A second objective is to increase engine efficiency and reliability, which in turn will reduce specific fuel consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and lifecycle costs. Reductions of more than 70% in NOx emissions (compared to 2000 levels) and 10% in fuel consumption is sought by the year 2020.
The technological themes of the HERCULES initiative have, since its inception in 2002, been higher efficiency, reduced emissions, and increased reliability for marine engines. However, for taking marine engine technology a step further towards improved sustainability in energy production and total energy economy, an extensive integration of the multitude of identified new technologies is required. Following the original vision, leading parties have decided to apply a third phase in 2012 called HERCULES-C, as a continuation of the very successful HERCULES programmes. The HERCULES-C Project is planned to run over a three-year period and has a targeted budget of EUR 19 million, bringing the total combined budget of the HERCULES programmes (2004-2015) to EUR 79 million.
The Future Combustion Engine Power Plant (FCEP) research programme was started on January 1st, 2010. The program focuses on research topics and development efforts in the area of reciprocating engine technologies and related power plant technologies. The key areas of research include improvements in the combustion process, energy efficiency, emissions reduction methods, heat recovery systems, and power conversion technologies. In addition, fuel flexibility and the use of renewable fuels in combustion engines are central research areas.
The programme objectives and scope have been set by the industry together with the research institutions, thereby enabling deep co-operation in jointly executing the programme and promoting breakthrough innovations across broad interfaces.
The total cost of the FCEP programme is EUR 38 million. It will be covered by the participating companies (EUR 12.8 million) and research institutes (EUR 5.1 million). The remaining EUR 20 million has been applied for from the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes). The first period of the program has been successfully accomplished and activities for the second period have started. The program duration has been prolonged from three to four years with planned ending by December 31st, 2013. The consortium consists of the leading combustion engine and power equipment manufacturers, supported by local research institutes and universities. The seventeen consortium partners represent a very high level in technical and scientific excellence.