Diesel offers promises of Speed


The Canadian Coast Guard expects to complete tests of its Zodiac Hurricane H753 OB Search and Rescue Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) equipped with Mercury Marine’s new diesel outboard engine in early 2017, the latter company has told armadainternational.com

Mercury Racing, a division of Mercury Marine, based in Wisconsin, has used its existing OptiMax engine family to develop a new diesel engine, known as the DSI (Diesel Spark Injection). The new engine is an exclusive spark-ignited, direct-fuel injected two-stroke diesel outboard engine that runs on ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel which is readily available around the globe. The new engine design shares 95 percent of components from the gasoline OptiMax family: “We have a lot of commonality in parts,” said Gary Coleman, director of service and government (Canada) at Mercury Marine: “It’s a win-win for everyone involved and we’re very confident that special user groups like navies and coast guards will be very interested in this cutting-edge technology.” 

The firm’s development of a diesel outboard engine has been triggered by a United States’ Department of Defence articulated aspiration that calls for the development of engines that operate on fuels which improve ship safety by minimising fire hazards, are more efficient and therefore economical. As a result of these requirements, Mercury Racing set out to develop a diesel outboard engine which would match or exceed performance specifications found in their gasoline/petrol outboard engines, with development to this end commencing in 2013, the company revealed.

The Canadian Coast Guard is one of the first users in the world to test the DSI engine, and they are using their Zodiac Hurricane H753 OB RHIB to this effect. Testing is taking place off the coast of St. John’s, Newfoundland, on the west coast of Canada, where the craft is expected to encounter extremely harsh sea states and weather conditions. The company adds that testing will last through the first quarter of 2017, and the decision to proceed to procurement is dependent on test results, and subsequent budgetary approval.