A ceremony for the ground breaking for a new manufacturing plant for Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines was held at the Yeongam, South Korea site
. The project is a joint venture investment between Wärtsilä Corporation and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd (HHI), and the new company will be known as Wärtsilä-Hyundai Engine Company Ltd. The joint venture was announced in January 2007.
The new plant will be dedicated to producing Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines for LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) carriers. Demand in this market is expected to continue to grow in tandem with the increasing global demand for natural gas. Korea currently has a market share exceeding 70 percent of the LNG shipbuilding market.
The Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engine has pioneered an industry change from the traditionally-applied steam turbine machinery to a dual-fuel-electric concept with the benefits of much better operating economy and lower exhaust emissions. The engine can be run either on natural gas or on marine diesel oil (MDO) or on heavy fuel oil (HFO). The engine can smoothly switch between fuels during engine operation and is designed to give the same output regardless of the fuel.
To date Wärtsilä has received orders for 206 Wärtsilä 50DF engines for 52 LNG carriers. The factory, which is scheduled to be in production by the second half of 2008, will produce approximately 100 engines per year.