Concept: Automotive giant Rolls-Royce has developed the ‘mtu Series 2000 and Series 4000’ marine engines that can run on sustainable fuels. The company aims to achieve climate-neutral shipping with the help of these engines.

Nature of Disruption: The marine engines are designed to run with EN15940 synthetic diesel fuels, a British Standard for paraffinic diesel fuel specification. EN15940 synthetic fuels can replace the traditional diesel fuel derived from fossil petroleum without modifying these engines. These fuels include sustainable fuels namely Biomass to Liquid (BtL), hydrotreated vegetable oil or renewable diesel (HVO), and power to liquid (PtL) such as e-diesel. HVO fuel is produced from renewable raw materials like waste vegetables, animal fats, and used vegetable oils which undergo a catalytic process with the addition of hydrogen to produce hydrocarbons. The company boasts that while testing, it found out that HVO offers clear combustion and can reduce particulate emissions by up to 80%, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by an average of 8%, and CO2 emissions by up to 90% based on the manufacturing process and feedstock. The engines can find applications in workboats, ferries, and large yachts.

Outlook: Many customers in the marine industry are concerned about reducing their carbon footprint, especially with HVO. Rolls-Royce has tested HVO fuel with mtu engines in six ferries for around 41,000 hours at Golden Gate Ferry in California which offered maximum power, load acceptance, and fuel consumption. As a part of its sustainability program announced in 2021, Rolls-Royce intends to realign its product portfolio and reduce nearly 35% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 with new fuels and mtu technologies. Currently, the company is developing fuel cell systems and methanol engines for ships and electrolyzers that can generate green hydrogen. Rolls-Royce plans to make available the mtu series engines for ships from the beginning of 2023.

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