The World’s Most Gargantuan Diesel Engine

It may shock you that a lot of the stuff we buy is made in China. In order to keep up with the mammoth demand for Snuggies, Shake Weights and other trappings of modern society, the Emma Mærsk makes the trip in four fewer days than the average container ship on a China-to-California run.

Oh, did I mention that the Emma Mærsk is the most vast container ship in the world? At over 1300 feet long, it weighs 170,974 tons and carries 11,000 6m shipping containers. To move this mammoth vessel at its cruising speed of 31 knots (versus the standard 18-20), you'll need more than some puny nuclear reactor - you need the 109,000Hp Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C, a 13m tall, 27m long diesel engine.

The 14-cylinder, 2-stroke TRA96 aboard the Emma Mærsk weighs over 2300 tons and operates at a relatively pokey 102rpm. Unlike traditional diesel engines, the RTA96-C forgoes the camshaft, chain gear, fuel pumps and hydraulic actuators in favour of common rail technology. Common rail technology uses a high-pressure fuel rail to supply individual individual solenoid valves rather than a fuel pump feeding injectors. This allows the engine to perform better at low revs and consume less fuel. Still, even with these efficiencies, it still injects 184g of diesel in every piston for every cycle.

[Wartsila, RTA96-C Wiki, Common Rail Wiki, Sodahead]

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