Wärtsilä plays key part in each SpaceX launch, collaboration talks with Tesla
Finnish maritime an energy technology company has expanded to space technology. The news come from an interview with Lännen Media and Wärtsilä CEO Jaakko Eskola. In addition there are talks with car and battery company Tesla for using their technology in hybrid engines.
Wärtsilä has collaborated with the SpaceX company for a long time. The space travel company ran by billionaire Elon Musk has done collaboration on the reuse of the parts of the rockets used to send satellites and other gear to space.
Propulsion and automation gear from Wärtsilä is used on platforms where the rockets land after delivering the payload. This reuse is the key to lowering cost of space travel. The fully automated elements return back to the atmosphere only minutes after the original launch.
Wärtsilä employees and technology ensure that the floating platforms are placed at precisely at the right location during launches. Operator are monitoring and controlling the platform remotely, in using a method known as Dynamic Positioning.
The Wärtsilä-SpaceX collaboration is attributed to the Wärtsilä sales representatives in San Diego who closed the deal with American company.
Savings of each successful launch is measured in millions of Euros as the rocket parts are incredibly expensive.
According to a Tweet from Elon Musk every launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket costs a maximum of 150 Million Dollars (over 120 Million Euros). In a recent launch the billionaires Tesla Roadster car was sent to the milkyway.
Wärtsilä a global leader in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Hybrid Engines for Ships and Powerplants
In addition to bringing maritime technology to the table, Wärtsilä is also a significant supplier of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) systems and infrastructure. LNG has become the fuel of choice for commercial space companies, because of it's good availability. Eskola says the company has bet in LNG for a long time, but it was a surprise to the company that the fuel was useful for space travel.
Wärtsilä is also in discussions on collaboration with Tesla, another where Elon Musk is in key roles as the primary owner and CEO. Wärtsilä is a large manufacturer of combustion engines running on a variety of fuels such as natural gas and heavy oil.
The company would like to strike a deal with Tesla where the company could buy batteries to power it's hybrid ship and power plant engines. In return Wärtsilä could improve Tesla powerplants with it's unique industrial grade hybrid system.
A third link between the two companies is the Gigafactory battery manufacturing facility that Tesla is looking to build in Europe. The city of Vaasa is currently trying to attract the Gigafactory to the city located on the Western coast of Finland. Vaasa is also the location where Wärtsilä engine product development is done.
This would allow the two companies to perform joint product development in close proximity. The cooperation is not straightforward as Wärtsilä is also competing the Tesla in the energy production sector. Currently Wärtsilä can purchase it's batteries and solar panel parts from any supplier. A binding agreement with Tesla could reduce the leeway of supplier selection once battery demand rises and availability becomes an issue in the mid to long term.
The company is also investing in software, having bought Eniram a Finnish provider of software and systems that improve efficiency of sea transportation by optimising courses and fuel use. In addition the company is setting up Digital Acceleration Centres (DAC) in multiple cities, including the Finnish capital of Helsinki.
The stocklisted company with turnover of 4,8 Billion in 2017. The Wärtsilä as a number of open jobs in Finland and elsewhere in the world. Currently it is hiring a manager for it's Helsinki DAC, for example.