Wartsila's dual-fuel engines have exceeded 3 million running hours in both land-based and marine applications, according to a company announcement.

Dual-fuel engine technology provides the flexibility to switch between the use of natural gas and heavy fuel oil (HFO), light fuel oil (LFO) and various other liquid fuels. This flexibility in fuel choice offers numerous tangible benefits, both economic and environmental. With oil prices fluctuating and environmental regulations becoming increasingly stringent, the operator has the freedom to select the most cost-effective and readily available fuel, whilst also having the ability to utilize natural gas in order to comply with emission limitations.

"For the power plant business, Wartsila's dual-fuel technology offers the perfect bridging solution for switching from liquid fuel to natural gas. The use of natural gas in power generation is rapidly increasing, but many locations are currently without a ready gas supply. Our dual-fuel technology enables customers in such areas to generate electricity, first with HFO and then to switch later to gas once it becomes available. Having now exceeded 3 million hours of reliable and efficient operation, there can be no doubt as to the effectiveness of this technology," said Vesa Riihimaki, group vice president, Wartsila Power Plants.

"A transition to LNG fuel is one of the most realistic options for significantly reducing the environmental footprint in marine transportation. Carbon-based greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by at least 15 percent, while sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions are practically entirely eliminated. Dual-fuel technology is the spearhead of Wartsila's engine portfolio, and is leading the marine sector towards a more sustainable future," commented Juhani Hupli, vice president, ship power technology.

The company began developing dual-fuel gas engines in 1987, the first concept being the gas-diesel (GD) engine with high-pressure gas injection. This was initially developed for the marine offshore market, where it has been applied in numerous floating production units. The second generation of gas engines was introduced in the early 1990s as spark-ignited (SG) pure gas engines. The breakthrough, however, came when the dual-fuel (DF) engine was introduced in 1995. The DF engines utilize low pressure gas, and combine fuel flexibility with environmental performance and fuel efficiency, according to Wartsila.