HERCULES (High Efficiency R&D on Combustion with Ultra-Low Emissions for Ships) was tasked with developing marine diesel engines with technologies, components and equipment that will achieve drastically lower gaseous and particulate emissions, while at the same time gaining increased engine efficiency and reliability, thereby reducing fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and engine life-cycle costs.
The project team, which consisted of more than 40 European engine component suppliers, equipment manufacturers, universities, research institutions and shipping companies, were given a budget of EUR 33 million, partly funded by the European Union (EUR 15 million) and the Swiss Federal Government (EUR 2.5 million) for the 43-month cooperative research project, which has looked to achieve improvements in areas like extreme design parameters, advanced combustion concepts, turbocharging systems, emissions reduction methods, and adaptive and intelligent engines.
The results of the research are being shared among the participants and are expected to be incorporated in engines introduced during the next ten years or so.
MAN Diesel and Wärtsilä have since proposed a follow-up to HERCULES in a new large-scale collaborative research project - HERCULES-B, which will be evaluated by the European Commission by the end of September 2007.
The principal aim of the proposed HERCULES-B, based on the developed know-how and results of HERCULES, is to considerably improve the efficiency of marine diesel propulsion systems and achieve substantial reductions in fuel consumption and emissions.
More information about the HERCULES project can be found at www.ip-hercules.com