Taller than an average four-story building and weighing as much as eight Boeing 747 planes put together, the Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C is the world’s biggest internal combustion engine. Period. The RTA96-C is a two-stroke, turbocharged, low-speed diesel engine, designed and manufactured by Finnish corporation Wärtsilä, who specialises in providing power solutions for the marine and energy markets.
In case you’re wondering, this gargantuan motor drives a ship. And not just any a ship – 1,300-foot-long behemoths weighing over 180,000 tons, capable of carrying 11,000 20-foot shipping containers at a speed of 31 knots. It now operates aboard the Emma Mærsk, where it was put into service in September 2006. The 14-cylinder engine is 13.5 metres (44 ft) high, 26.59 m (87 ft) long, weighs over 2,300 tonnes, and produces an earth shattering 80,080 kilowatts (107,390 hp). The crankshaft alone weighs 300 tons, while the 6 metre high pistons tip the scales at 5.5 tons each.
The RTA96-C employs common rail technology instead of traditional camshaft, along with chain gear, fuel pumps and hydraulic actuators for providing maximum performance at low revolutions per minute (rpm). And because it’s as big as a small hill, the massive mill trundles along at a leisurely 102 rpm under full throttle. It also features a split-lubrication system, wherein the cylinders and the crankcase use different lubricants, each being specialised for and dedicated to its role. So far there are 25 such engines churning the world’s oceans, and another 86 are on the way.
Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C Specifications
|Configuration||Turbocharged two-stroke diesel straight engine, 6 to 14 cylinders|
|Bore||960 mm (37.75 in)|
|Stroke||2,500 mm (8.4 ft)|
|Displacement||111,063 CI (1,820 litres) per cylinder|
|Engine speed||22–102 RPM|
|Mean effective pressure||1.96 MPa @ full load, 1.37 MPa @ maximum efficiency (85% load)|
|Mean piston speed||8.5 meters per second|
|Specific fuel consumption||171 g/(kW·h)|
|Power||Up to 5,720 kW per cylinder, 34,320–80,080 kW (46,680–108,920 BHP) total|
|Torque||Up to 7,603,850 newton metres (5,608,310 lbf·ft) @ 102 rpm|
|Power density||29.6 to 34.8 kW per tonne, 2300 tonnes for the 14-cylinder version|
|Mass of fuel injected per cylinder per cycle||~160 g (about 6.5 ounces) @ full load(Whole motor uses up to 250 tons of fuel per day.)|
|Crankshaft weight||300 tons|
|Piston weight||5.5 tons|
|Piston Height||6 metres (20.17 feet)|