Coordinated by the National Technical University of Athens, the project comprises 32 partners from 11 different companies, 16 universities, and five research organisations.
Running for three years, Hercules-2 will examine alternative fuels and the optimisation of fuel switching, new high-temperature materials, new adaptive control methods to improve engine life span and performance, and after-treatment of exhaust gases to achieve near-zero emissions.
"The greatest of the many benefits stemming from Hercules-2 will be the development of new technologies that have a positive impact on our customers' profitability,” said Ilari Kallio, vp of Engine R&D at Wärtsilä. “Another is the significant contribution this project will make to more environmentally sustainable shipping.”
MAN D&T vp R&D head Søren H. Jensen said "Hercules-2 is a strong platform that will create a basis for the development of technologies applicable to ship engines in four to five years time. We have, therefore, positive expectations and look forward to collaborating with so many cross-industry partners."
Hercules-2 follows up from the Hercules R&D programme for large engine technologies, originally conceived in 2004 by Wärtsilä and MAN D&T. The Hercules-2 technologies will eventually be employed aboard large ships.