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HEAVY

Colossal: Meet the world's largest diesel engine

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The Wärtsilä-Sulzer 14RT-flex96C is the largest diesel engine in the world. It is surprising in terms of dimensions, consumption and power. Because we are lovers of the technique, it is worth getting to know him better. The featured image circulates a lot on social networks, and it probably wasn't the first time they've seen it: a giant engine, the 14RT-flex96C, to be transported by a «small» truck — yes, small… compared to that engine everything is small.

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The Wärtsilä-Sulzer 14RT-flex96C is not only the largest and most powerful diesel engine in the world, it is effectively the largest cylinder engine in the world, both in size and volumetric capacity. A colossal motorcycle was manufactured in Japan, by Diesel United, with technology from the Finnish company Wärtsilä. This monster is part of the RT-flex96C modular engine family. Engines that can assume configurations between six and 14 cylinders — the number 14 at the beginning of the name (14RT) indicates the number of cylinders. These engines are used in the naval industry to move the largest ships in the world.

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The biggest of them all, this 14RT that we have highlighted, currently equips the huge Emma Mærsk containership that entered service in 2006 — one of the largest vessels in the world, measuring 397 m long and weighing over 170 thousand tons. Returning to the Wärtsilä-Sulzer 14RT-flex96C, it is a two-stroke diesel engine. Its output is an impressive 108,878 horsepower and consumption is a nice 14,000 l/h at 102 rpm — yes, a mere 102 rpm, which is, by the way, the maximum engine speed.

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Gigantic but very efficient Despite the dimensions, one of the concerns of the Wärtsilä-Sulzer 14RT-flex96C engineering team was engine efficiency and emissions control. The RT-flex96C engine family evolved from the RTA96C family and is distinguished, above all, by using an injection system common rail, which drastically reduced the amount of smoke generated, consumption and maintenance costs.

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The power generated by the engine is used not only to move the propellers, but also to generate electrical energy (delivered to auxiliary engines) and also used to power the other components of the ship. The steam generated by the cooling of the combustion chambers is also used, generating electrical energy.