The objectives of the HERCULES-2 project are associated to 4 areas of engine integrated R&D:

  • Improving fuel flexibility
  • Formulating new materials to support high temperature applications
  • Developing adaptive control methodologies to retain Lifetime powerplant performance
  • Achieving near-zero emissions


The project HERCULES-2 comprises 4 R&D Work Package Groups (WPG):

  • WPG I: Fuel flexible engine
  • WPG II: New Materials (Applications in engines)
  • WPG III: Adaptive Powerplant for Lifetime Performance
  • WPG IV: Near-Zero Emissions Engine


The HERCULES-2 project Objectives are presented in below table:

WPG Objective Performance indicators
(KPI, BS EN 15341:2007)
Target value How

Fuel flexible Engine

Seamless switching between different fuel types in a cost-effective way

No perceptible difference in engine performance wrt baseline (single fuel) BAT

<2% change in speed at changeover

  • Improved understanding of injection, ignition, combustion and emissions formation
  • Advanced test facilities with optical access
  • Novel measurement techniques – laser illumination, high speed video
  • Reaction kinetics enabled CFD numeric tools
  • Closed loop control of multi-fuel injection systems
  • Full scale tests and multi cylinder field demonstrators

Complying with all emissions regulations, at all operating points, with any fuel

No difference in fuel consumption wrt single conventional fuel BAT

<1% differences all loads

Improved gaseous and particulate emissions with certain fuels

Reduction in Greenhouse gas emissions wrt baseline engine

Up to 25% reduction (depending on fuel composition)

Improved engine part-load performance

Reduction in fuel consumption at part load

5% reduction

New Materials

Facilitate improved combustion by allowing higher thermal and mechanical load

Higher thermal / Mechanical load bearing capability, durability and functional performance

15% higher

  • Novel intermetallic material characterization (mechanical, physical, chemical)
  • Integration of Thermomechanical fatigue behaviour
  • Joining technologies investigations
  • Heat treatment and manufacturing process investigations
  • Selection of highly loaded engine components for test applications (cylinder head, turbocharger)
  • Prototype manufacturing of test components
  • Prototype components installation in test engines

Enable prolonged engine operation at reduced load/speed without undue wear (hence safe and cost-effective vessel slow steaming, resulting in reduced fuel consumption)


Normal wear of components at prolonged low-load operations


<1% difference in component wear

Improved durability and engine lifetime

Improved life of individual components under increased temperatures

50% longer


Adaptive Powerplant for lifetime performance

Optimised performance throughout lifetime

Minimum divergence from "as-new" performance throughout lifetime

Max 5% divergence any parameter

  • Predictive model based controls with adaptive and self-learning behaviour
  • Multiple-in / Multiple-out controllers
  • Online monitoring using advanced additional sensors
  • Real time diagnostics
  • Smart software-based failure detection and analysis
  • Software-based evaluation of performance and component wear
  • Offline tool for optimal tuning of engine throughout its lifetime
  • Real-time tribo monitoring sensors
  • Full scale testing of advanced optimised cylinder lubrication systems
  • Retrofit electronic actuator for optimizing mechanically controlled engines
  • Un-attended engine software deployment
  • Prototype full-scale installations

Reduced operating costs via optimised operation

Reduced fuel and maintenance costs

15-20% reduced

Improved fuel consumption in transient loading

Improved (faster) load acceptance within emission limits and reliability requirements.

20-25% improvement

Improved fuel consumption during load transients

1% lower

Overall fuel saving during normal operations

Overall reduction in fuel consumption during steady-state normal operation

2% lower

Advanced lubrication system with reduced lub-oil consumption and pollutant emissions (HC, CO, PM, NOX)

Improved lub oil consumption all operating conditions (reduced lub oil costs and reduced lub related emissions)

10% reduction

Near-zero emissions engine


Integration of After Treatment Unit (ATU) into existing engine structure in very large engines

Reduction in NOx emissions wrt Tier II BAT

80% reduction

  • High pressure SCR
  • Vibration Resistant Catalysts
  • Closed loop emission sensing and control
  • Optimization of fuel consumption/emissions trade-off
  • Prototype SCR catalyst coating onto DPF substrates
  • Deactivation and regeneration of oxi-catalysts
  • Reduction agent, optimal injection, evaporation, reforming, mixing, analysis and experiments

Reduction in HC wrt Tier II BAT

50% reduction

Reduction in fuel consumption and  CO2 emission wrt Tier II BAT

Up to 5% reduction


Combination SCR and DPF for 4-stroke large marine engines

Reduction in NOx emissions wrt Tier II BAT

80% reduction

Reduction in PM and black carbon emission wrt Tier II BAT

80% reduction

Integration of methane slip abatement system for 4-stroke engine

Reduction in GHG CH4 emissions

15% reduction

Reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions wrt baseline

Up to 5% reduction