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Four Finnish universities join with industry partner on internal combustion engine research

By David Schwartz
Published: November 14th, 2017

Four Finnish universities signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Wärtsilä, a multinational manufacturer of power sources and other equipment in the marine and energy markets, to collaborate on research into sustainable future applications for internal combustion engines.

The schools participating in the Engine Research Initiative (ERI) are Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology, Åbo Akademi University, and the University of Vaasa. The ERI aims to create an open research ecosystem where cutting-edge technologies involving internal combustion engines can be developed together with other partners and matured to meet the evolving needs of the shipping and power production sectors.

In a speech at the MoU signing ceremony held on November 7 in Helsinki, Kari Hietanen, Wärtsilä’s Executive VP for Corporate Relations and Legal Affairs, said: “This type of ecosystem approach represents a unique cooperation between industry and academia, and is something that has never before been seen in Finland. Together, making use of our own individual competences and areas of expertise, we shall endeavour to develop sustainable energy solutions based on the use of combustion engines, to the benefit of all concerned.”

Underlying the partnership is a rapidly changing marketplace in both the marine and power generating industries. In the energy sector, conventional power plants are not capable of reacting to the rapid changes in output from renewable sources, such as wind and solar. Wärtsilä’s Smart Power Generation solution is an effective answer to this need, but the company believes more can be achieved through the use of new technologies.

In the marine industry, energy storage using extended battery capacity and digitalization are certain to play a major role in future operational systems. Increased communication capabilities and computational power will drastically change the way goods are transported over the seas. The changes will be seen in both the equipment and in the way business is conducted, Wärtsilä believes.

The ERI program will foster a research culture aimed at creating prototypes of next-generation combustion engines that can respond to future operational needs with environmental sustainability as a central pillar of all platforms developed.

Two projects are already being planned by under the ERI partnership. The first will seek to ensure the operational availability of engines in autonomous vessels through the use of big data, edge analytics, and optimal data communication via the cloud. The second involves hybrid systems with the integration of batteries, together with new combustion modes aimed at near-zero engine emissions.

Source: Globe Newswire

Posted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

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