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Discover the largest engine in the world, it consumes 14 tons of fuel per hour and its power is 109.000 HP

Written by Noel Budeguer
Published 25/05/2024 às 18:38
Engine - ship - cargo ship - transport - maritime
The most powerful engine in the world: Developing 109.000 hp, it consumes 14 tons of fuel per hour and moves giant ships with incredible efficiency

The most powerful engine in the world: Developing 109.000 hp, it consumes 14 tons of fuel per hour and moves giant ships with incredible efficiency

This is the biggest engine of all time and, despite the absurd consumption, its efficiency is higher to that of a conventional internal combustion engine.

Its size and power are just as incredible as the rest of the numbers I will give later.

Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96C: the heart of the colossus

The Finnish company Wärtsilä gave birth to this mammoth designed to move supertankers and supercargo ships across seas and oceans. Entered service in 2006 on the cargo ship Emma Maersk. Thanks to the 109.000 HP it develops, it can move its 397 meters in length filled with thousands of maritime containers at almost 50 km/h.

Let's now get to the heart of the matter. How big is this engine really? How can it be efficient while consuming 14.000 kilograms of fuel per hour? And the torque? We will answer all of this, but I can tell you that the torque it generates is beyond all logic. Just look at the images in the gallery to understand.

Designed to move supercarriers, the RTA96C produces 109.000 HP while consuming 14.000 kilos of fuel per hour to fulfill its mission.

Dimensions of the largest engine in the world

While a conventional car internal combustion engine can weigh between 120kg and 300kg, the RTA96C tips the scales at 2.300 tonnes. Crazy, just like its size. About 27m long by 13,5m high, the same as a 5-story building.

Let's continue with more stratospheric numbers. The engine capacity is a modest 25.480 liters. Considering that it is a 14-cylinder engine, we have 1.820 liters per cylinder.

Now that you see how big it is, you can imagine that it doesn't happen overnight. It takes between several months and a year, and the cost can exceed 20 million. Of course, then you need to carry out maintenance, which is done every three years and, no, it's not cheap either.

As big as a 5-story building, 25.480 liters of displacement and a weight of 2.300 tons.

The Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96C

It is a 14-cylinder in-line 2-stroke turbodiesel engine with a common-rail injection system. It uses heavy fuel oil that is injected mixed with oil (note thousands of liters).

The maximum power of 109.000 HP is developed at “just” 102 rpm. I don't know if this seems like a little or a lot considering its dimensions. Keep in mind that the crankshaft alone weighs 300 tons.

Torque is also given at 102rpm and, hold on, it's 7.603.850Nm. Yes, we are talking on a scale of millions.

7,6 million Newton meters of torque at 102 revolutions per minute.

The maximum power of 109.000 HP is developed at “just” 102 rpm. I don't know if this seems like a little or a lot considering its dimensions. Keep in mind that the crankshaft alone weighs 300 tons. Source: Wartsila

Consumption of the largest engine in history: Explaining the efficiency of an engine

The consumption of this beast is 3,8 liters of fuel per second at maximum load. That's almost the 14 tons per hour mentioned earlier. However, in a more efficient rotation regime, this consumption can be reduced to less than half. Not bad, although they are still crazy numbers.

It is known that some ships of this type pollute as much as all the cars on the planet. We have to be aware of the load they take, which can be as incredibly huge as all the numbers we've seen in this machine's specs.

Despite this, this engine enjoys a thermal efficiency of slightly more than 50%. Something that many cars (especially those from the time it was created) don't even come close to with their combustion engines. This percentage means that 50% of the energy from the burned fuel is transformed into movement. What do you think of these engineering beasts? Is there a cleaner way to move such colossal ships?

A thermal efficiency of 50% implies that 50% of the energy in the burned fuel is transformed into movement.

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Noel Budeguer

Of Argentine nationality, I am a news writer and specialist in the field. I cover topics such as science, oil, gas, technology, the automotive industry, renewable energy and all trends in the job market.

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