HERCULES was conceived in 2002 as a long-term R&D Programme, to develop new technologies for marine engines. It is the outcome of a joint vision by the two major European engine manufacturer Groups MAN & Wärtsilä, which together hold 90% of the world's marine engine market.
The present HERCULES-C project is the Phase III of the HERCULES Programme. In order to take marine engine technology a step further towards improved sustainability in energy production and total energy economy, an extensive integration of the multitude of the new technologies developed in Phases I and II is required. HERCULES-C addresses this challenge by adopting a combinatory approach for engine thermal processes optimization, system integration, as well as engine reliability and lifetime.
The first Objective of HERCULES-C is to achieve further substantial reductions in fuel consumption, while optimizing power production and usage. This will be achieved through advanced engine developments in combustion and fuel injection, as well as through the optimization of ship energy management and engine technologies supporting transport mission management.
The second Objective of HERCULES-C is to achieve near-zero emissions by integrating the various technologies developed in the previous research Projects, in Phases I and II.
The third Objective is to maintain the technical performance of engines throughout their operational lifetime. This requires advanced materials and tribology developments to improve efficiency and reliability, as well as sensors, monitoring and measurement technologies to improve the controllability and availability of marine power plants.
The project HERCULES-C structure of RTD work comprises 47 Subprojects, grouped into 10 Work Packages and 5 Work Package Groups, spanning the complete spectrum of marine diesel engine technology. The HERCULES-C Project has duration of 36 months, a Consortium with 22 participants and a total budget of EUR 17 million, partly funded with EUR 9 million by the European Union within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).