Wärtsilä Corporation hasopened its new technology centre, the Sustainable Technology Hub, in Vaasa, Finland. The new centre will contribute to efforts to advance the global decarbonisation of marine and energy by fostering innovation, collaboration, and the development of green technologies using sustainable fuels and digital technologies.
The inauguration event was held on 1 June and attended by invited guests, notably Finland’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Mika Lintilä.
‘The speed at which the marine and energy industries are moving to meet decarbonisation goals is accelerating,’ says Håkan Agnevall, President and CEO of Wärtsilä Corporation. ‘The Sustainable Technology Hub a world-leading centre for research, innovation, engineering and manufacturing, marks the start of a new era for Wärtsilä. By taking advantage of innovative technologies that already exist today, we can speed up the development of future-proof engines capable of running on sustainable fuels. We can now demonstrate that a carbon neutral future is achievable.’
Engines running on carbon neutral fuels
Wärtsilä already has engines operating on carbon neutral fuels. This year the company released its Wärtsilä 32 Methanol engine to the market, and within 2023 an ammonia concept will be ready. A hydrogen concept is expected to be available in 2025.
The construction of the new centre was announced in 2018 with a total investment of around EUR 250 million. It features a modern fuel laboratory, flexible technology and engine testing facilities, as well as a state-of-the-art production system with a high level of automation. The centre employs 1500 people under one roof, providing operational efficiency as well as a reduced carbon footprint in logistics.
The centre has advanced energy recovery systems that enable self-sufficiency for heat energy. With the expansion of sustainable fuels, the Sustainable Technology Hub (STH) is a cornerstone for achieving the company’s 2030 target for carbon neutrality in its own operations.
Innovation and the development of service solutions will be an important part of the Hub’s output. A new, modern Wärtsilä Land & Sea Academy training centre, Customer Expertise Centres for remote operational support, predictive maintenance solutions, and the development of new digital innovations play a central role in supporting customers to optimise their operations throughout the life cycle of their assets, and to accelerate their decarbonisation journey.
The centre acts also as a global ecosystem of collaboration by inviting customers, partner companies and academia to incubate, test and validate ideas.
One major collaboration showcase is the Wasaline ferry “Aurora Botnia”. Wärtsilä and Wasaline have closely cooperated to establish this vessel as one of the world’s most energy efficient and environmentally sustainable passenger ferries. The collaboration continues with the vessel used as a floating testbed for Wärtsilä’s future innovations. It is equipped with Wärtsilä’s most technologically advanced solutions and services.
Picture: Production pictures from STH. Engine assembly line (by Wärtsilä).