That's a BIG engine!


#1

Shipping goods from China to the U.S. is big business. And when we say big, we’re talking 1,300-foot-long ships that weigh 170,974 tons. The cargo ships in question can carry 11,000 20-foot shipping containers at a breakneck speed of 31 knots.

That’s a lot more oomph than the typical 20-knot cruiser, and the reason for the extra push is the world’s largest diesel engine. The 109,000-horsepower Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C, which first set sail in the Emma Mærsk in 2006, weighs in at a rotund 2,300 tons, and it’s 44-feet tall and 90-feet long. In other words, the TRA96 is the height of a four-story building, and longer than a Christmas Eve line at Sam’s Club. Within that massive exterior rests 14 cylinders that each consume 6.5-ounces of diesel fuel every cycle. And, if you like torque, there’s enough twist to rip an M1 tank to shreds, though the massive mill churns at only 102 rpm.

That’s a lot of motor to ponder, and we’d be imagining the size of that camshaft, if it had one. This turbocharged two-stroke features common rail tech that utilizes a high-pressure fuel rail to supply fuel to individual solenoid valves. That means improved fuel economy and better performance, which is nothing short of essential in such a massive ship.

So far there are 25 such engines patrolling the world’s oceans, and another 86 are on the way. And since these mills can get a shipment from China to LA in four fewer days than their competitors, we wouldn’t be surprised to see still more engines on the way.


more pictures on the website


#2

It probably has a Hemi as a starter motor…

I wonder how many gallons per mile it gets? I recall reading somewhere once that an aircraft carrier (not a nuke) gets 8 inches to the gallon.


#3

for each cylinder maybe :stuck_out_tongue:

it’s funny how they won’t mention the torque numbers. They probably think we’ll crap ourselves if they tell us, or it’s some closely guarded national secret


#4

5,608,310 ft·lb at 102rpm. Dunno why the article didn’t mention it.


#5

I’ll have a swing at this math. It uses 6.5 oz per cycle. It’s a two-stroke, so that means one cycle every revolution. I’ll assume it’s running at 102 RPM and the ship is moving at 31 knots (35.7 MPH). At 102 RPM, that’s 663 oz per minute and 39,780 oz per hour, or 2,486.25 pounds per hour.

Wikipedia says diesel fuel weighs 6.943 pounds per gallon, so that works out to 358.1 gallons per hour. Divided by 35.7 MPH works out to 10.03 GPM. More or less, if my assumptions are correct and I didn’t make any mistakes.


#6

Unless that’s fluid ounces, but since it didn’t specify, I assumed it was weight ounces.

If they used, but didn’t specify, fluid ounces, that works out to 8.7 gallons per mile, given the same assumptions.


#7

in before Jeremy Clarkson or Jay Leno tries to put it in a car.


#8

It’s a diesel, but it doesn’t use diesel fuel…it uses “Bunker C” fuel oil, has to be heated to flow:
“Number 6 fuel oil is a high-viscosity residual oil requiring preheating to 220 - 260 °F (104 - 127 °C). Residual means the material remaining after the more valuable cuts of crude oil have boiled off. The residue may contain various undesirable impurities including 2 percent water and one-half percent mineral soil. This fuel may be known as residual fuel oil (RFO), by the Navy specification of Bunker C, or by the Pacific Specification of PS-400.”


#9

the real question is, can we convert it to run on used fryer grease? :stuck_out_tongue:


#10

109,000 HP @ 102 RPM would work out to 5,612,431 lb. ft. of torque…OUCH! Must have pretty rugged crank throws :slight_smile:


#11

There are marine propulsion engines like this that are built into the hull of the ship, they become part of the structure. They are overhauled one cylinder at a time…There is no transmission, but I believe the engine can be disengaged from the propeller shaft. If reverse is needed, the engine can be run backwards…


#12

oblivion 7:15PM “It probably has a Hemi as a starter motor”

I’m pretty sure that most engines this large are started using compressed air valved to the cylinders, essentially running it as a compressed air motor until it starts. Also, since there is not a gearbox in the world that can handle the power of this engine, reverse is obtained by starting the engine backwards.


#13

Looks like someone knows there is a lot more oil in the ground than the rest of us are worried about ! What ever happened to going back to sail power…can’t wait a few extra weeks for your Chinese made Bose stereo speakers ?


#14

As texases said, it uses Bunker C. That’s the crap left over after you refine all the other gas out of the oil. So it’s really not using any more oil than if it didn’t exist - that oil was pumped out to make gas, etc already.

BTW doubleclutch, it has to have rugged crank throws - the crankshaft weighs 300 tons. An impressive machine by any standard.


#15

Bunker “C” has been powering ships ever since the days of reciprocating steam…

I doubt there is a foundry left in the United States that can cast a 300 ton engine part…

The “Free Trade” mantra has allowed the Corporate World Order to export all our highly productive middle-class jobs and import an endless stream of consumer products manufactured with virtual slave labor…Problem is, now they are running out of middle-class consumers to sell all this stuff to…


#16

Precisely.


#17

“What ever happened to going back to sail power…can’t wait a few extra weeks for your Chinese made Bose stereo speakers ?”

Nope. Time is money. That implies that they have to have twice as many ships or ship half the goods they have now. And can you imagine how many sails would be needed to move 170 tons? I don’t think it’s possible.


#18

Hey, I remember Popular Science had sail-power on the cover…back in 1970…do you mean that didn’t happen???


#19

The flywheel has a starter ring…


#20

I’ve mentioned this engine a few times here before, over the years.
Here are some more photos: