Wärtsilä, MAN Diesel & Turbo, and Winterthur Gas & Diesel have partnered on a project to develop basic technologies for use in two and four-stroke marine engines.
Known as Hercules-2, the cross-industry initiative aims to promote environmentally sustainable and efficient shipping.
MAN Diesel & Turbo R&D vice-president and head Søren Jensen said: "Hercules-2 is a strong platform that will create a basis for the development of technologies applicable to ship engines in four to five years time.
"We have, therefore, positive expectations and look forward to collaborating with so many cross-industry partners."
Partially funded by the European Union, the project is being carried out in accordance with general European Union policy.
Coordinated by National Technical University of Athens, the project will see participation of 32 marine industry partners from 11 different companies, 16 universities, and five research organisations.
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The scheme will focus on the application of alternative fuels and the optimisation of fuel flexibility to offer seamless switching between fuels, and the development of materials that support high-temperature component applications.
In addition, it will cover the creation of adaptive control methodologies to enhance engine performance throughout its life span, and to achieve near-zero emissions through combined, integrated, after-treatment of exhaust gases.
Scheduled to run for three years, the project is part of the Hercules R&D programme for large engine technologies, which was established in 2004 by Wärtsilä and MAN.