The duel-fuel engines can operate on natural gas, light fuel oil, or heavy fuel oil bunkers.
Wärtsilä Corporation (Wärtsilä) said in a press release Monday that natural gas is the alternative fuel that offers the greatest potential for complying cost-effectively with the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) upcoming environmental regulations.
"With fuel costs and environmental compliance being the key issues currently facing owners and operators throughout the marine sector, the use of gas as fuel makes a lot of sense," it said
"LNG has consistently been shown to be a viable and attractive alternative to marine diesel and low sulphur fuel oils."
The comments came as Wärtsilä announced it has now sold over 2,000 gas fuelled engines that have accumulated over 7 million running hours.
Wärtsilä's gas and dual-fuel engine technology can be used in all vessel types
"Wärtsilä's gas and dual-fuel engine technology can be used in all vessel types, and installed both in newbuilds and as conversion projects in existing ships," it said.
The maximum sulfur limit for marine fuel used inside Emissions Control Areas (ECAs) will fall from the current 1.00% by weight to 0.10% by weight in 2015.
The Council of the European Union also recently agreed to back a sulfur limit of 0.50 percent by weight in all European waters by 2020.
Lloyd's Register has said that the acceptance of LNG as a marine fuel will depend on pricing and owners would be wise to consider fuel flexibility, with Wärtsilä saying its latest dual-fuel technology allows an engine to be operated on either natural gas, light fuel oil, or heavy fuel oil bunkers with the same output regardless of the fuel used.
Ship & Bunker reported yesterday that a recent study for Canadian West Coast ferry operator BC Ferries concluded that converting its ferries to use LNG bunkers could cut its fuel cost in half.