The Naval Architect: March 2019
The Wärtsilä 14 type constitutes a broadening of the product range beyond the medium-speed category and into the lower regions of the power scale, below that of its current, smallest production engine, the Wärtsilä 20 series.
The choice of development partner, in the shape of Liebherr, underscores the outward-looking disposition of the Wärtsilä organisation. Liebherr is a diversified, international construction, lifting and mining equipment group based in Switzerland, most closely identified in the marine field with terminal, shipboard and offshore cranes.
The 135mm-bore, Wärtsilä-branded newcomer leverages Liebherr high-speed engine know-how in combination with key Wartsila engine technologies. The two companies have agreed to cooperate on a long-term basis in the research and development of high-speed engines for the marine and offshore markets.
One of the main target applications for the Wärtsilä 14 is that of auxiliary generating sets in merchant ships, including container vessels and tankers. As a genset drive, the engine is set to be released from the end of 2019 onwards in 12- and 16-cylinder configurations, covering a power output band of 675-1,155kWe. The propulsion version, initially as a Tier II engine, is scheduled to follow in mid-2020.
The vendor’s case for the engine’s suitability as an auxiliary rests on a combination of purported attributes, including competitive capital expense and installation costs, compactness and high power density. One key innovation is the digital fuel injection system, which is optimised for marine distillate fuel oils. The engine’s operation on light fuel oil (LFO) with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% is apposite to the shift to cleaner fuel in auxiliaries.
The new engine shares the same bore, stroke and displacement as that of Liebherr’s D9600 vee-form series. The Wärtsilä 14 will not be manufactured by Wärtsilä, but by Liebherr, which has diesel production sites in Switzerland and France. Liebherr will also be responsible for ongoing product development of the Wärtsilä 14, while after-sales backing will be afforded through Wärtsilä’s global lifecycle support and services network.
The revived Wärtsilä interest and new initiative in the high-speed segment follows the development of the 175D high-speed series by MAN Diesel & Turbo, now MAN Energy Solutions.
In its guise as MAN B&W Diesel, the company had become involved in high-performance, high-speed engines through the absorption of the Paxman marque and the VP185 as part of the 2000 purchase of Alstom Engines UK. As MAN Diesel & Turbo, it created a High-Speed Business Unit in 2010, and went on to develop the D7 high-speed diesel for 1,500-5,000kW applications. MAN Group activities in the high-speed field had otherwise been concentrated on MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, now MAN Truck & Bus.
In the event, the D7 was dropped from the catalogue and the new 175D has been taken forward for marine genset and small-vessel propulsion duties, initially in 12V format for the 1,440-1,920kW power band, to be joined in the future by 16V and 20V versions.