Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


HERCULES-2 Report Summary

Project ID: 634135
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.4.


Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The R&D Programme HERCULES is the outcome of the joint vision by the two major European engine maker Groups MAN and WARTSILA, to develop new technologies for marine engines, with general aims to 1) Increase engine efficiency, thus reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, 2) Reduce gaseous & particulate emissions and 3) Increase engine reliability. It was the first time that these two groups participated together in a project with commonly defined research areas, whilst independently maintaining their specific product development targets.
In the year 2004, the Integrated Project HERCULES-A commenced. It was the Phase I of the HERCULES R&D Programme (Figure 1). The HERCULES-A, involved 42 industrial & university partners. HERCULES-B was the Phase II of the Programme, from 2008 to 2011, with 32 participant organizations. The HERCULES-C project (2012-2015) was the Phase III of the HERCULES Programme and adopted a combinatory approach, with an extensive integration of the new technologies identified in Phase I and Phase II.
The current project HERCULES-2 with 32 partners and 25 M€ budget, partly funded by the European Union, is targeting at a future fuel-flexible large marine engine, optimally adaptive to its operating environment. The targets of HERCULES-2 build upon the achievements of the previous HERCULES projects (Figure 2), going beyond the limits set by the regulatory authorities.
The general objectives of HERCULES-2 are summarized below:
- To improve fuel flexibility.
- To formulate new materials to support high temperature applications.
- To develop adaptive control methodologies to retain Lifetime powerplant performance.
- To achieve near-zero emissions for large marine engines.
The Project structure of work comprises 8 RTD Work Packages as well as 3 managerial Work Packages.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In WP1 work focused on the development of a fuel flexible engine. The Spray Combustion Chamber was enhanced and ignition studies for non-auto-igniting fuels were performed. An advanced droplet evaporation model was used and the results were compared with experimental values (Figure 3).
Work in WP2 focused on the development of experimental and numerical tools required to exploit new alternative fuels. Optical techniques for studying fuel injection, ignition and flame propagation were developed (Figure 4), including the design of a new spray chamber. New measurement techniques were developed and related components were designed and manufactured.
In WP3 novel materials for use in turbine casing and other engine applications were evaluated and tested. Various processing routes were identified and optimized (Figure 5). A bearing test rig was assembled to investigate bearing materials. For the turbine casing, two groups of novel materials were studied regarding thermo-mechanical fatigue and creep.
In WP4, tests were performed to investigate appropriate materials to increase the fatigue resistance of cylinder heads and turbocharger inlet casing (Figure 6). A turbine casing material that is expected to have 25% higher corrosion resistance has been selected. Existing modelling tools have been reviewed and development of new ones has begun.
WP5 targets on retaining engine’s as-new performance, using optimized engine control and parameterization methods. Different control strategies of knock margin were implemented and verified. A lambda controller was designed and tested in a hybrid diesel-electric powertrain. A Design of Experiments algorithm for the engine static maps design and optimization was developed. Simulation of an adaptive, fully-flexible lubrication system, including a test cell (Figure 7) was also done.
In WP6, mathematical engine models were developed and validated to be used to setup model-based controllers, to investigate engine behavior during cylinder cut-out (Figure 8) and to investigate engine operation with high-pressure SCR. An oscillation damping controller for low-load SCR operation was developed and validated. A new electronically controlled pneumatic actuator for existing mechanically controlled engines was also studied.
Work in WP7 targets NOx, PM and HC emission reduction. The performance and regeneration of a methane catalyst element were investigated using a small-size gas engine and in parallel potential oxidation catalysts for methane and ethane reduction were evaluated (Figure 9). In addition, vibration measurements were performed, on engines operating in the field (Figure 10), to derive a test cycle for evaluation of catalyst samples. Finally, SCR catalyst deactivation / reactivation was investigated.
In WP8, for the engine integrated SCR, the design of a control setup for dynamic operation was performed and tested in full scale shop test, giving high NOx conversion rates and minimum ammonia slip. A mini SCR test bed was designed and built (Figure 11). For combined SCR and DPF, urea decomposition was studied via models and experiments. An existent hot gas test rig was enhanced for urea decomposition investigations (Figure 12). For the SCR coated DPF’s, a synthetic gas test bed including particle generation and characterization was designed.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

“Progress beyond State of Art” for WPG I (Fuel flexible Engine): advanced test facilities with optical access, novel measurement techniques – laser illumination & high speed video, reaction kinetics enabled CFD numeric tools, closed loop control of multi-fuel injection systems.
For WPG II (New Materials): novel intermetallic material characterization, integration of thermomechanical fatigue behaviour, new Joining technologies, new Heat treatment and manufacturing process investigations.
For WPG III (Adaptive Powerplant for Lifetime Performance): predictive model based controls with adaptive and self-learning behaviour, online monitoring using advanced additional sensors, real time diagnostics, smart failure detection and analysis, software-based evaluation of performance and component wear, un-attended (online) engine control system updating, real-time tribo monitoring sensors, optimised cylinder lubrication systems, electronic actuator for retrofitting conventional non-electronic engines.
For WPG IV (Near-Zero Emissions Engine): high pressure SCR system, vibration resistant catalysts, closed loop emission sensing and control, optimization of fuel consumption/emissions trade-off, prototype SCR catalyst coating onto DPF substrates, deactivation and regeneration of oxi-catalysts.
The Expected Impacts of HERCULES-2 are to achieve efficiency gains and emission reductions beyond the existing regulatory regimes i.e. fuel efficiency gains of 15% for retrofitting or 30% per type of solution, to accomplish a 25% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and a reduction of ~80% in air pollution compared with Best Available Technology (BAT). “Slow steaming” is a widely used practice to reduce vessel fuel consumption (a relatively small reduction 15% in vessel speed will readily give 30% reduction in fuel demand). Work in WPG II and WPG III allows for engines that can work efficiently at different operating regimes, able to perform effectively and with safety for slow steaming. WPG I targets 25% simultaneous reduction in greenhouse gases and air pollution. Additional benefits in greenhouse gas emissions are expected from the minimisation of methane slip. The combination of integrated after-treatment and control will allow the 80% target reduction in emissions compared to BAT.

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Record Number: 195228 / Last updated on: 2017-02-23