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This Gigantic Diesel Engine Is 90 Years Old and Cranks Out 22,500 Horsepower

Fans of diesel-powered pickup trucks may remember the 7.3-liter (444-cubic-inch) Powerstroke that Ford introduced in the 1990s. It's one of the largest oil burners ever fitted in a production model. However, it's nowhere near as big and powerful as the B&W 2000, a 90-year-old behemoth that still runs as a museum piece.
1932 B&W diesel engine 7 photos
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Built by Burmeister & Wain, a shipyard and diesel engine manufacturer established in 1855 in Copenhagen, Denmark, this gigantic powerplant was completed in 1932, exactly 90 years ago as of 2022.

It was the world's largest diesel engine at the time and retained its title for a whopping 30 years. How big is it? Well, let's say that it needs a three-story construction around it to be operated and maintained. Because it's 24.6 meters (80.7 feet) long, 12.5 meters (41 feet) tall, and weighs 1,400 tons (2.8 million pounds). And it cranks out a whopping 22,500 horsepower.

That's almost 46 times more power than an Audi Q7 equipped with the V12 turbodiesel and 53 times more than a Ram 3500 fitted with the available 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six. Now that's a lot of oomph!

Where's all that power going? Well, it was used to produce electricity at H.C. Ørstedværket in Copenhagen's South Harbor. It has been retired in the late 1960s, but now it's on display at the Diesel House Museum.

Set up by The Museum of Copenhagen and MAN, it houses many items from the B&W Museum, which was closed in 2006. Not only part of the collection, but the massive B&W 2000 is also fired up two times a month, on the first and third Sunday at 11 AM. But if you're not planning on visiting Denmark anytime soon, you can see and hear it come to life in the video below.

Make no mistake, though, the B&W 2000 is not the world's largest and most powerful diesel. That title goes to the Wärtsilä RT-flex96C, a 25,500-liter (1,556,105-cubic-inch) inline-14 titan. It's 26.6 meters (87.3 feet) long and 13.5 meters (44.3 feet) tall, while its cylinders measure one whole meter (3.3 feet) in diameter.

Power figures? Well, grab a seat because this thing pumps out 107,389 horsepower and... wait for it... 5,608,312 pound-feet (7,603,850 Nm) of torque. Yup, that's not a typo. It's more than five million pound-feet.

Unlike the B&W 2000, Wärtsilä is moving about because it currently motivates the Danish container ship Emma Maersk, one of the largest in the world. Thanks to the gargantuan diesel that delivers maximum torque at only 102 rpm, the ship can travel at up to 25.5 knots (29.3 mph / 47.2 kph).

Do you still think that diesel-powered cars with more than 300 horsepower are a big deal?

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