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Following the 28th CIMAC World Congress in Helsinki, John Smythe, Infineum Global Marine and Large Engine Technical Adviser and CIMAC UK National Member Association Chair, reports on some of the trends, hot topics and technology innovations showcased at the event.

The triennial CIMAC World Congress on Combustion Engine Technology is billed as one of the most important international events in the field of large diesel and gas engines.

Infineum had a strong presence at the 2016 event, both participating in the technical programme and taking a stand in the exhibition area.

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Infineum had a strong presence at the 2016 CIMAC Congress

The event, as always, was a great way to network with a variety of industry stakeholders including marine and gas engine OEMs, ship-owners, power station and rail operators and oil companies. It also provided a good opportunity to learn about industry trends and to discuss the factors that might influence future hardware, fuel, lubricant and additive developments.

There was a strong presence from European organisations this year. And, although we saw fewer participants from Asia and the US, with more than 800 delegates there were plenty of good opportunities to network.

Technical programme

The technical programme, under the theme ‘Meeting the future of combustion engines’, highlighted the latest developments in products and technologies and explored the value they bring to the customer. Engine equipment manufacturers, academia, research institutes, end users and operators as well as lubricant and additive companies took part. Experts from these organisations shared some of the scientific research that is creating the foundation for the next generation of engines to address the needs of the market and ensure an environmentally and economically sound future.

A number of industry topics were covered including improving energy efficiency, the impacts of tightening emissions regulations, fuel flexibility, big data and the use of electronics to create autonomous ships.

It was a very full agenda with 189 papers and 32 posters, which were presented by a wide range of organisations.

MAN Diesel & Turbo scooped the Best Paper Award for its interesting contribution on two-stroke engines, which explored the latest design developments within engine types, Tier III and multiple gas fuels. For the first time CIMAC also awarded a Poster Award, which went to Mitsuhiro Soejima from Kyushu Sangyo University, Japan for a very academic poster on studies on tribology to reduce friction, wear and lubricating oil consumption for internal combustion engines. Wärtsilä was recognised at the Gala Dinner, receiving the President’s Award for a paper about the organisation’s experience of the world’s first ethane-powered multi-gas carrier.

Infineum was selected to present a paper and to participate in a poster session as part of the Fuels, Lubricants and Fluid Technologies session.

Jonathan Hughes, Infineum Lubricants Development Technologist, presented a paper on improving the efficiency of next generation gas engines with lubricant formulation choice.

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Jonathan Hughes presenting his paper at the CIMAC 2016 Congress

This paper described the effects that additive component and base oil selection can have on prolonging lubricant life in modern high efficiency gas engines. It examined the impact that detergent choice can have on cleanliness and acid control within the engine; the role dispersants play in supporting the detergent to prevent deposit formation and the effect of antioxidants and anti-wear protection. The paper also demonstrated how the risk of ring sticking, bore polish, filter-plugging and bearing damage can be reduced by defining a robust gas engine oil.

His enthusiasm and the highly technical level of the content of his work earned Jonathan recognition from a number of delegates.

Luciana Angonesi, Infineum Lubricant Technologist, presented a poster on chemical and regulatory changes and their potential impact on marine lubricants.

The poster explored how the challenges of continuing to deliver high performance Marine Diesel Cylinder Lubricants (MDCL) can be met without the package labelling issues imposed by the continued use of prior generation Tetrapropenylphenol (TPP) containing phenates. The poster also shared field performance data of a very low TPP lubricant, which delivers the same performance as current products.

This session was well received and sparked interesting discussions with several potential customers and OEMs.

On the last day of the technical sessions there was an opportunity for participants to hear a panel discussion on the impact of cooling oil prices on our businesses, which included a number of prominent panellists from ABB Turbocharging, Wärtsilä, MAN, Maersk and from the Oil & Gas industry.

Hot topics

This is an exciting time in the marine and gas engine markets – something that was reflected in many of the papers and posters. There were a considerable number of papers that highlighted the latest design developments from the major OEMs.

Throughout the event, the word on many OEMs’ lips was ‘modular’, which is the latest approach to designing marine and gas engines that meet the requirements of end users in both sectors.

In the marine world, the introduction of tough Tier III NOx regulations in certain emission control areas meant it was not surprising that papers on aftertreatment technologies were in strong evidence. New developments in selective catalytic reduction technologies (SCR) were covered by a number of OEMs, with both MAN and Wärtsilä discussing their SCR systems. Exhaust gas recirculation was scrutinised by Mitsubishi and by Caterpillar in a paper on the pros and cons of using the technology in medium speed diesel engines. Wärtsilä also showcased its new W31 engine which, with a fuel efficiency of 165 g/kWh, has achieved a Guinness World Records title for the most efficient four-stroke diesel engine.

Continuing the emissions reduction theme, there were also a number of papers on dual fuel engines for marine applications from OEMs including MAN, Daihatsu, MTU and AVL. Alternative fuels were also discussed by many OEMs in papers on methanol in marine engines, hydrogen and ethane use in gas engines, and the impacts of biodiesel use.

With emissions reduction and cost savings high on everyone’s agenda, it is likely that fuel flexibility and the impacts that different fuel types have on hardware and lubricant performance are likely to be topics of interest for some time to come.

Looking ahead

CIMAC 2016 provided an opportunity for good technical discussions with a number of existing and new end user, OEM and oil industry contacts.

There are three years to wait until the next CIMAC Congress, which will be held in Vancouver. In the interim Infineum will be working on some of the collaborative projects that were discussed at this year’s event. Our continued investment in R&D will help to ensure the new products we develop are aligned with the evolving needs of the large diesel and gas engine industries.

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