Large bore marine engines are a major source of fossil fuel consumption in the transport sector. The development of more efficient and cleaner marine engine systems are always required. Exergy analysis is a second-law based approach to indicate the maximum amount of work obtainable from a given system.

In this study, an exergy analysis is used to identify losses and improvement potential of a large bore Wärtsilä 31DF four-stroke marine engine system with two-stage turbocharging. An exergy-based framework is implemented on a calibrated 1D engine model to view the evolution of exergy flow over each engine sub-system while operating on different load points fuelled with natural gas and diesel separately.

The overall distributions of engine energy and exergy are initially compared at a systematic level regarding the impact of fuel mode and operating load. Furthermore, the engine irreversibilities are characterized as three types: combustion, heat dissipation, and gas exchange losses. The first type, combustion irreversibility, is the largest source of engine exergy losses amounting to at least 25% of fuel exergy. A crank resolved analysis showed that premixed gas combustion produces lower exergy losses compared to diesel diffusion combustion. The second type, thermal exergy transferred and destroyed by heat losses, are summarized for the entire engine system. From the exergy view, the charge coolers present an opportunity to recover about 9% of the brake power at full load. The last type, gas exchange losses, are categorized by accounting the flow losses caused by the valve throttling, fluid friction in pipes and the irreversibility of the two-stage turbocharging system. Most of exergy destruction in gas paths occurs at turbocharging system, where the high pressure turbocharger contributes to around 40% of the total flow exergy destruction.

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