Research themes in the spotlight: Making the production of green fuels economically feasible

Kenneth Widell from Wärtsilä leads one of the ZEM research themes which focuses on exploring the ways to make the operations in the production of zero-carbon fuels a feasible business. We discussed with Widell about the potential partners of this research theme and its ambitious objectives.

Kenneth Widell works at Wärtsilä as Senior Project Manager in the Sustainable Fuels and Decarbonisation unit. He is engaged in ecosystem project activities: he helps to identify the right persons within Wärtsilä to connect with the ideas coming from innovative companies outside Wärtsilä. He is also the project manager of the entire ZEM programme and has taken the theme of Green fuel production under his wings.

Win-win for Wärtsilä and end customers adopting renewable fuels

Widell explains that the ambitious objective of this research theme is to develop economically feasible operations to produce renewable fuels. The end result should not only be profitable business for Wärtsilä, but it should also be beneficial to the end users. The challenge is to find the best possible balance between demand and supply — Wärtsilä wants to make renewable fuels as attractive as possible to the end users.

Until now, the maritime has been allowed to use heavy fossil fuels which have been cheaper than the other fuels. Now that the use of fossil fuels is becoming more and more restricted, the maritime will also need to look for non-fossil alternatives to keep the fleet on the move. When the heavy fuels are not much longer an option, maritime industry must compete with the other users of more generic fuels with a bigger demand. This will in turn raise the fuel pricing.

Seeking a wide range of partners

According to Widell, Wärtsilä is looking for new production concepts for the renewable fuel alternatives. Organisations and companies developing new ideas and innovations to accelerate the transformation in the  maritime industry are very welcome; synergies may be found with fuel companies, small and large fuel manufacturers, research organisations and end users. The concepts could be related to carbon capture, methanisation, storage of alternative fuels or manufacture of related components. Renewable hydrogen and its derivatives, methane gas, methanol, and ammonium are all of interest to Wärtsilä as alternatives to fossil fuels.  

“To make the production of green fuels a profitable future business takes a lot of work within the ZEM ecosystem and an understanding of the whole value chain,” says Widell. He sums up: “To get rid of fossil fuels completely is quite a long way ahead but making this transition to non-fossil fuels and making it profitable is the only way to go.” Wärtsilä cannot do this work alone so expertise from the ecosystem partners is much needed.

Is your company developing solutions and technologies related to the production of green fuels? Do not hesitate to contact us to find out if we can ideate and innovate together! 

Read more about green fuels here.