Reducing the emission of boat engines to zero is a feature that all builders will engage in to face the challenges of the 21st century.
In this regard, Volvo Penta, the world’s leading company in the supply of marine and industrial engines, has the goal of building zero-emission marine engines by 2050 at the latest.
This goal has led the manufacturer to review the priorities of the various sectors. Therefore, from the beginning of 2021, it has decided to cut the production of the outboard motors of the American brand Seven Marine acquired just four years ago by Volvo Penta.
Seven Marine, a small American family company founded in 2010, first managed with its 557 to build the most powerful outboard in the world of the 500 class with the amazing power of 557 hp and then the 627 with an unparalleled power of 627 cv.
Extremely powerful technologically advanced outboard engines, but obviously not very sustainable and not strategic for the new company objectives.
With these engines, Volvo Penta could certainly increase its ability to do business but evidently the green soul of the company prevailed in line with its long-term goals which plan to produce zero-emission propulsion systems by 2050. through electricity, but also with hybrid and renewable fuels.
In this regard, Heléne Mellquist, the new president of Volvo Penta who replaced Björn Ingemanson, who after a long and successful career in the Volvo Group retired in September 2020, released the following statement:
“Volvo Penta expects the outboard segment to continue to be relevant to the maritime leisure market, but we believe our primary focus must be the unquestionable need to drive advances in sustainable technology.” “This is why, for the time being, the exploration of new technologies together with the development of our core business, such as Volvo Penta IPS and sterndrive, will be the focus of our efforts.”
The Volvo Penta IPS is not a simple engine but has become a complete propulsion system that allows a 30% reduction in fuel consumption and a huge decrease in exhaust emissions, greater comfort in navigation and greater maneuverability of the boat.
Mercury Marine, the American global motoring giant of marine engines, has also been working for some time on the production of high-performance and racing engines capable of reducing emissions to a minimum.
In April 2021, it announced that it had expanded its Apex racing outboard range with the construction of the new Mercury Racing 200 APX outboard, a four-stroke V6 powertrain with over 200 horsepower designed to compete and win powerboating championships. of UIM F2 and APBA OPC Racing sponsored by the International Union of Motorboating (UIM) and by the American Power Boat Association (APBA).
The four-stroke Mercury Racing 200 APX engine reduces exhaust emissions by 50% compared to its previous two-stroke racing outboard the Mercury Racing 200 XS OptiMax and by 90% compared to the historic SST 120 model, because it is built with the latest low-emission four-stroke engine technology.
The Mercury Racing 200 APX has been made available to race teams since May 2021.
In this regard Stuart Halley, general manager of Mercury Racing has released the following statement:
“The new 200 APX is designed to deliver extraordinary performance while reducing maintenance and fuel costs for race teams.” “Mercury Racing is also working on the production of high performance and racing engines capable of reducing emissions to a minimum, and the 200 APX represents a further commitment in that direction.”
The 200 APX powertrain is based on the 3.4-liter twin overhead cam and four-valve engine block for each of the 6-cylinder V with 64 ° angle.
To prepare the engine for racing, the compression ratio was increased from 10: 1 to 11: 1 and the maximum speed from 5800 to 6800 rpm. Cooling is ensured through a lightweight carbon fiber fairing that incorporates forced cold air induction.
A lightweight flywheel allows the engine to reach higher revs than the stock engine. The engine runs on 91 octane fuel (98 RON), which is readily available. The 200 APX maintains digital throttle control and is equipped with a 24 volt starting system.
In addition, the engine is equipped with a gearbox with an evolved Mercury Racing Super Speed Master (IV SSM) outboard gearbox with direct drive without neutral and reverse.
The 200 APX uses the same 30cm center section that equips the Mercury Racing 360 APX V8 racing outboard used and designed specifically for racing in the UIM F1H2O Formula One powerboating championship, with crankshaft combined with a structural wet sump. and power trim / lift integrated with remote pumps. To bring the propeller speed to 8000 rpm. the “overdrive” pinion system intervenes, increasing the shaft speed at the entry of the foot.
The 200 APX develops about 20% more torque than the two-stroke engine, however at a lower RPM, the overdrive system will allocate some of that torque to increasing the propeller RPM in this way most teams will have the opportunity to use the same propellers that they installed on the two-stroke engine.
Jeff Broman, Mercury Racing’s technical director made the following statement:
“The 200 APX produces about 20% more torque than the two-stroke engine, but at a lower RPM.” “With the overdrive gearbox we can swap some of that torque to increase the propeller rpm, which allows most teams the opportunity to use the same props they have mounted on the two-stroke engine, a great saving on the costs for the race teams “.
The engine features integrated, lightweight steering arms for cable steering of tunnel boats. The top cowl features robust locking and sealing systems, while the carbon fiber driveshaft cover features quick release latches for easy access to the midsection.
The above-water drain offers unlimited flow and produces a tone that thrills any racing enthusiast.
Mercury Racing 10W-30 MRX engine oil, a new high performance full synthetic lubricant, was designed in conjunction with the Mercury Racing 200 APX outboard.
Specially formulated to withstand the extreme levels of heat and stress that the engine faces during racing.
The boats used to compete in the F2 and OPC circuits are small catamarans or tunnel boats, 16 feet long, less than 5 meters to keep the weight low are built through extensive use of carbon fiber and kevlar and overall the boats weigh 1,130 lbs (513 kg), including engine and pilot as required by the category regulations of the powerboating championships for these types of boats. These boats in the UIM F2 and APBA OPC Racing circuits are capable of reaching a top speed around 118.06 mph (190 km / h) and can accelerate from zero to 62 mph (100 km / h) in just 5 seconds, amazing results. achieved and surpassed only by boats of the superior category of motorboating F1H2O of the formula 1 of the sea.
Also in the F1H2O championship catamarans are used that are notoriously used in competitions because in addition to allowing you to reach high speed, they have exceptional maneuverability. The boats weigh 860 lbs (390 kg), are 19,685 feet (6 meters) long and can reach 62 mph (100 km / h) in less than four seconds and reach a top speed of over 149 mph equal to 240 km / h.
Unlike the “Offshore” competitions that take place in the open sea, the motorboating world championship races, divided into categories, take place on circuits delimited by buoys with the same format as a car grand prix; you compete on tracks designed on the water, routes of fast straights and breathtaking turns.
Competitions are organized in lakes, harbors, rivers and reservoirs or sheltered coasts that allow competition on calm waters. The categories are distinguished by alphanumeric abbreviations, where the letters indicate the type of boat and the numbers, the maximum displacement.
F1H2O or commonly defined as the formula 1 world championship of powerboating is a sport organized and promoted by H2O Racing Ltd, sponsored by the International Union of Powerboating (UIM) recognized by the IOC that governs the sport of powerboating. It is the top class of inshore powerboating.
In the motorboating formula 1 the boat must have a length of at least 4.80 meters, minimum weight 390 kg; the engine has a displacement of 2500/3000 cc. It is compulsory for the boat to mount the “safety capsule approved by the UIM”.
While the UIM F2 is the formula 2 powerboating world championship in this category, all engines with displacement up to 2050 cc are included, the competing boats are of the tunnel type and have minimum lengths of 4.80, minimum weight. with 513 kg pilot. This is the category where the new Mercury Racing 200 APX outboard competes together with other types of engines that fall within the category. The safety capsule approved by the UIM is mandatory.
There are also other categories that compete and are always distinguished by the type of boat, weight and engine capacity.