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Viking to develop large CraftEngine family

Viking Heat Engines will develop larger, more powerful CraftEngines in response to market demand. The new heat engines will feature between two and eight cylinders, offering customers a comprehensive product family in the 100-400kW power range on top of Viking’s existing 10-40kW CraftEngines.

The decision to go ahead and develop this “large-engine family” was made to meet the needs of current and potential customers.

Tor Hodne, CEO of Viking Heat Engines, says: “There’s a great need in many different market segments for larger engines in the 100-400kW power range, and we know that many of our current customers will be happy to learn that we’ll have an extensive selection of products to offer them in the future.”

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A gap in the market

The larger engines will fill a hole in the market for heavy duty organic Rankine cycle (ORC) technology that can handle flexible operational scenarios with available heat from 100kW up to a few megawatts. Turbines are currently being used in the market for power levels above this.

Harald Nes Rislå, Head of Technical Innovation at Viking Heat Engines, says the reason there are currently no companies offering ORC technology in this power range is that it requires a lot of time, money and effort, which most small engineering firms simply don’t have.

“We have made a great effort to get it right, and we realised early on that if we were to succeed we would need to cooperate with some of the best players in the industry,” he says, referring to engine design company, AVL, and US chemical company Chemours, among others. “The decision to go with AVL has been a very important one, and because of them we’re now at a stage where we’re ready to expand our product range from 40kW units all the way up to 400kW.

“Further, our close cooperation with Chemours ensures our new engine family will be able to operate on modern, environmentally sustainable working fluids. This will be crucial to our success in the coming years since new environmental regulations demand the usage of working fluids with very low global warming potential.”

Hodne says that taking the step from small to larger engines will, more or less, be a pure engineering exercise, since most of the R&D tasks have already been carried out in developing the current products. 

“It’s what the car industry refers to as ‘standard automotive engineering’,” he says. “It’s just a matter of spending the next 18-24 months developing the larger engines.”

Economies of scale

The larger engines will be built on the same technical platform as the current CraftEngines.

“The large-engine family will include products of several different sizes, comprising many of the same components,” says Rislå. “We’re just adding more cylinders, so you’ll get economies of scale, which in turn will lead to a lower cost per installed kilowatt compared with our present product portfolio.”

The more powerful engines will have a higher power density, meaning that less footprint is required per kilowatt of power produced, and also allow customers to generate more power from the heat that goes into them, making them more efficient than their predecessors.

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From geothermal to marine, and everything in between

The larger engines also open up doors to fresh markets as well as new parts of the markets that Viking currently operates in.

“Producing more powerful engines will enable us to serve the geothermal market as well as the exhaust gas recovery (EGR) market for larger generator sets, the marine industry and other parts of the waste to energy market,” Hodne says. “For example, we currently have three demo units installed at a large, municipal waste incineration company in the south of Norway. The units are not big enough to absorb all the waste heat the plant produces at the moment, but our larger engines will be able to. This makes us attractive to incineration plants of that size as well as smaller ones.”

Two products for the price of one

Viking will take this opportunity to further develop its high-temperature heat pump, the HeatBooster, hence broadening the product range. The HeatBooster is based on the CraftEngine technology and since the core components are the same, the development cost can be kept to a minimum.

“This is an example of perfect synergy,” says Hodne. “Not only will we get larger heat engines, we’ll also get larger high-temperature heat pumps, which will allow us to tap into the vast market opportunities that these products address.”

For more information, please contact us at post@vikingheatengines.com.

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