THE MOST POWERFUL ENGINE IN THE WORLD: The Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C turbocharged two-stroke diesel engine

The Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C turbocharged two-stroke diesel engine is the most powerful and most efficient prime-mover in the world today.  The Aioi Works of Japan’s Diesel United, Ltd built the first engines and is where some of these pictures were taken.

     It is available in 6 through 14 cylinder versions, all are inline engines.  These engines were designed primarily for very large container ships.  Ship owners like a single engine/single propeller design and the new generation of larger container ships needed a bigger engine to propel them.

     The cylinder bore is just under 38″ and the stroke is just over 98″.  Each cylinder displaces 111,143 cubic inches (1820 liters) and produces 7780 horsepower.  Total displacement comes out to 1,556,002 cubic inches (25,480 liters) for the fourteen cylinder version.

     Some facts on the 14 cylinder version:
Total engine weight: 2300 tons  (The crankshaft alone weighs 300 tons.)
Length: 89 feet
Height: 44 feet
Maximum power: 108,920 hp at 102 rpm 
Maximum torque: 5,608,312 lb/ft at 102rpm 

     Fuel consumption at maximum power is 0.278 lbs per hp per hour (Brake Specific Fuel Consumption).  Fuel consumption at maximum economy is 0.260 lbs/hp/hour.  At maximum economy the engine exceeds 50% thermal efficiency.  That is, more than 50% of the energy in the fuel in converted to motion.
     For comparison, most automotive and small aircraft engines have BSFC figures in the 0.40-0.60 lbs/hp/hr range and 25-30% thermal
efficiency range.

     Even at its most efficient power setting, the big 14 consumes 1,660 gallons of heavy fuel oil per hour.

Here’s a clip of this machine in the Holland America Line – MS Noordam’s engine room (it’s a bit long, but interesting to see):

Also here is a clip of 6 of these engine moving a giant Ferry at nearly 40 mph!

 For more information about the The Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C turbocharged two-stroke diesel engine, go to the following link:

15 Responses to THE MOST POWERFUL ENGINE IN THE WORLD: The Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C turbocharged two-stroke diesel engine

  1. Allgonquin says:

    Hi, While it’s nice to see your blog about the largest engine, your page on this is filled with inaccuracies. The RTA 96 is built exclusively in Korea. The photos of engine construction you show are rather old (1998 actually), of a 10 cylinder version of the RTA 96C, taken in Korea at Hanjung.

    The film clip you have of “6 engines moving a giant ferry at 40 knots” is completely mislabeled. That ship has four Wartsila Sulzer ZA40 4 stroke engines, a completely different type of engine. The speed for that ship, by the way, is 27 knots. (and the film shows the ship crawling through a harbor, not at speed!)

    The other video, of the Noordam, is not labeled correctly either. The Noordam has 5 Wartsila 4 stroke “46” type engines, nothing like the RTA96.

    So how about a bit of fact checking, sir? Otherwise, carry on!

  2. […] a big inline for everyone. 14 cylinders, turbocharged, 108,920 hp, 5,608,312 tq…. THE MOST POWERFUL ENGINE IN THE WORLD: The Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C turbocharged two-stroke diesel en… __________________ 07 6.7 cummins, 6 speed, one-ton, electric blue, gauges, afe intake, […]

  3. So “Superfast VII” is just an exaggeration then? I was expecting a 40000 ton speedboat hydroplaning. 😦

  4. mohammad says:

    To Whom It May Concern,
    I am a student in mechanical engineering of Tehran Technical University, and interested
    To get technical information of products and new projects of your company, specialy about the biggest engines,please
    Forward the request anytime.
    With respect
    Ommani Mohammad

  5. Eric says:

    I am so not impressed. The Cadillac 16 has a 16 cylinder 1000 hp/ 1000 FPT motor that gets 20 MPG using cylinder deactivation in a car with no form of forced induction. This motor has 4 times more torque but look at the size of it. One could take 6 Cadillac 16 motors and combine them to put out similar torque numbers with better fuel economy, less weight, less size, way more Horsepower & a far quicker engine response. Or, you could alternatively use fewer motors and forced induction.

    • Stephen says:

      The only thing unimpressive here is your complete lack of mechanical knowledge… and ability to perform grade 5 arithmetic.

      The Wartsila 14 cyl engine puts out 108,920 hp and 5,608,312lb/ft of torque.

      Sooo, just for the infants in the classroom, 4 x 1000ft/lb = 4000ft/lb
      Alternately, 5,608,312 / 1000ft/lb =

      All this aside, you must choose one operation point of the Cadillac engine for comparison, not combine it’s max power with its max efficiency.
      If you would like to choose 20mpg at highway speed (3 GPH) as the operation point, the engine is likely running on four or eight cylinders and putting out ~60hp-70hp, just enough to maintain equilibrium with steady state air and mechanical resistance at 60mph.
      Primary movers in displacement vessels, such as bulk carriers, are designed to run steady state at ~85% of full power/torque (85rpm) to overcome constant hydrodynamic resistance on the hull at speed. For simplification we’ll say the ship runs at 91,000hp (85%) burning 1660GPH Bunker C (heavy oil) – The Cadillac at full throttle (1000hp) would burn at least 100GPH of gasoline (probably an understatement, as the Bugatti Veyron burns 125GPH at 1001hp).
      So if you linked up 90 geared Cadillac engines to spin the one propeller, for the same output they’d be burning at least 9000GPH of gasoline vs. 1660GPH of Bunker. Not to mention the Cadillac engine would most likely fail after a week or so of running at full power 24 hrs a day.

    • Stephen says:

      Going for your calculator?

      No worry!

      5,608,312 / 1000ft/lb = 5,600

      That’s 5,600 Cadillac Sixteens Eric!
      Now, A, B, C, D….

      lol, Fail.

    • ME says:

      1000 hp is more than 102920 hp? wheres the flying pigs?
      besides , just try and get ur caddy to run at 102 rpm.



  7. ARNOLD CHANSA says:


  8. […] and The Most Powerful Diesel Engine in the World This site has a couple of clips worth viewing. THE MOST POWERFUL ENGINE IN THE WORLD: The Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C turbocharged two-stroke diesel en… __________________ "Lucifer" is my name! Deposit:4-11-06 & Titled:11-28-06 SKY […]

  9. jorge says:

    Everyone!!!! Which car do you think is the fastest??????? The Bugatti Veyron or the Ultra-high Performance Ultimate Aero Twin Turbo?????

  10. Miguel says:

    Really amazing, is a giant engine, good post.

    diesel engine services

  11. Mike says:

    How often does this bad boy need an oil change? and how much oil does it hold in the pan.

    I bet an oil change will cost more than getting a new car.

  12. Ved Singh says:

    i am student of marine engineering n looking forward to build-up an purifier room for this engine
    so i would like to receive some information about the daily consumption of fuel of this engine

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