Video: The World’s Most Powerful Ship Engine

Do you know how big is the world’s biggest and most powerful engine?

The most powerful truck engine, the Volvo Iron Knight, has an output of 2400 HP. However, it cannot compete with an engine that deploys enormous horsepower and propels one of the world’s biggest ships.

Known as RT-flex96C, this mammoth engine is 44 feet high and 87 feet long and has a horsepower of 110,000, whereas the biggest truck engines produce a fraction of horsepower and are merely 4 feet in height.

It is designed for large container ships that run on heavy fuel oil. This mega engine consumes 13,000 litres of heavy fuel per hour.

The engine weighs 2,300 tons and stands 44 feet tall and 90 feet long – more than a four-story building. The engine runs at 102 RPM, creating a torque that is enough to tear a tank to shreds.

In any case, you’ll need a very long ladder if you want to see the top of the engine, as it’s three stories up in the air at around 45 feet. When installed in a container ship, it gains stairs and railings so that engineers and workers can move around the engine.

You might wonder what kind of behemoth would need so much power. In 2006, the Wärtsilä RT-flex96C engine was installed and finally set sail on the Emma Mærsk, a cargo ship that can carry 11,000 20-foot shipping containers at a breakneck speed of 31 knots, whereas most other ships in its class typically cruise with 20 knots.

The ship regularly ferries cargo from China to the U.S, which it can deliver four days earlier than its competition, saving a lot of money. There are currently 25 such engines roaming the world’s oceans, and another 86 are on the way.

It can use diverse energy supplies, including bunker fuel, distillate marine diesel, natural gas, ethane and liquified petroleum gas.

The world’s biggest engine weighs 2.3 kilograms. If the weight of the average adult person is 70 kilogrammes, this world’s biggest engine has a weight equivalent to the weight of 33,000 people.

When the world’s biggest engine is running at 102 revolutions per minute, it produces 80 million watts of energy, which is enough to power a small town of 660,000 people.

Considering all the features, this engine made an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest engine. It is said that this mega powerhouse engine costs anywhere from 25 to 30 million dollars.

Some of the huge numbers surrounding this engine might fill you with concern for the environment, but the engine is, in fact, extremely efficient for its size, making it one of the least polluting compared to other ship engines.

Additionally, any exhaust gases that are not reused for combustion can be passed through a steam generator. The steam extracted is then used to power electrical generators as it spins turbines. These processes help to reduce the emissions produced by the engine and provide further power beyond propelling the ship.

Which is the biggest engine you had previously worked with? Let us know in the comments.

Disclaimer: The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used in the article, have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendations on any course of action to be followed by the reader.

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