Welcome to our list of the world’s biggest engines. Because this is such a broad topic, we chose to include both historical and current instances. The following list contains a diverse mix of old and new, ranging from simple, land-based internal combustion engines to gravity-defying space rockets.
Some of these are absolutely magnificent marvels of technology, while others are historically significant and have been entered into the club of these massive “beasts of burden.”
What are some of the world’s biggest engines?
So, without further ado, here are some of the most incredible engines in history. This is by no means a complete list, and it is presented in no particular order.
1. The Biggest Turbofan Engine in the World
The GE90-115B is the world’s largest jet engine, weighing little under 18,300 pounds (8300 kg). This great engine, measuring 18 feet (5.5 m) long and 11.25 feet (3.4 m) wide, established the world record for generating 127,900 pounds of force. That’s a monster!
According to the website of GE Aviation, “The GE90 engine made its appearance on a British Airways 777 in 1995, together with the industry’s first carbon-fiber composite fan blades. Early GE90 engine types produced between 74,000 and 94,000 pounds of thrust, and it is still the world’s biggest turbofan engine.”
2. The Massively Produced Aircraft Piston Engine in the United States.
During World War II, the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 “Wasp Major” was a four-row radial piston aircraft engine. The “Wasp Major” was a large-displacement aircraft radial piston engine mass-produced in the United States.
The final member of the family and the pinnacle of Pratt & Whitney’s piston engine technology, the war ended before the engine could be deployed and utilized in combat aircraft.
Eight of these monsters, each generating 3,000 BHP, were deployed on the famed “Spruce Goose” H-4 Hercules.
With a name like that, you’d think the engine lives up to the hype. The 71-liter variant has 28 cylinders in a radial arrangement and a power output of 3,500 horsepower.
3. The World’s Biggest Radial Engine
Let us now introduce you to the Lycoming XR-7755. If 127 liters, 5,000 brake horsepower from 36 cylinders, and 2.7 tons of weight isn’t a large engine, we don’t know what is.
The Lycoming XR-7755 was and still is the world’s biggest piston-driven aircraft engine. It was designed to be used on the USAF’s “European Bomber” (which eventually became the B-36 Corsair). The project was discontinued in 1946 when the USAF’s focus shifted to jet engines.
4. The World’s Largest Wind Turbine
The Siemens SWT-6.0-154 offshore wind turbine is enormous. It has a sweeping area of 18,600 meters and a power output of 6 MW.
The turbine, based on Siemens’ direct drive technology, has fewer moving parts than comparable direct-drive technologies. The weight of the head is less than 360 tonnes. According to Siemens, the combination of ruggedness and lightweight minimizes installation and maintenance costs while increasing longevity.
According to Siemens, the motor has several advantages “The SWT-6.0-154 direct drive wind turbine is intended to utilize a wide variety of offshore environmental conditions based on our unique offshore experience. The SWT-6.0-154 is designed to IEC 1 standards and may be installed in any known offshore area. The Siemens offshore direct-drive turbines’ 505 ft (154 m) rotor has a total rotor area of 200,208 ft2 (18,600 m2), increasing energy generation in offshore locations ranging from interior waters with moderate wind resources to the most exposed offshore sites.”
5. The World’s Largest Steam Locomotive Engine
Union Pacific Railroad’s 4000 class steam locomotives were the longest in the world when they were built between 1941 and 1945. The 4-8-8-4 articulated steam locomotives, affectionately nicknamed as “Big Boys” for a good cause, were retired from service in 1959. They were quickly replaced by diesel engines.
With a length of 82 feet (25 meters) and a max torque of slightly over 135,000 pounds-force, these were extremely massive machines.
6. What was once The World’s Biggest Diesel Engine
Between 1932 and 1962, the B&W CM 884WS-150 was installed at the H. C. Ørsted Power Station in Denmark and was the world’s biggest diesel engine. It was a huge eight-cylinder, two-stroke diesel engine.
The engine is massive, measuring about 82 feet (25 meters) long, 41 feet (12.5 meters) high, and weighing 1,400 tonnes. Its crankshaft weighs 140 tons, and the engine as a whole requires 40 tons of lubricating oil. While there is no information on displacement, the engine is reported to be capable of producing 22,500 horsepower.
7. The World’s Largest Industrial Turbine Engine
The GE 1750 MWe ARABELLE turbine generator transforms steam into electricity and is intended for use in nuclear power plants. The turbine blades alone weigh 176 pounds (80 kg).
GE claims that the “Arabelle steam turbines provide power ranging from 700MW to 1,900MW in 50 and 60 Hz modes and can be customized to any heat sink conditions by using various low-pressure modules and last-stage blade types. Arabelle can satisfy the standards of the most demanding nuclear power generators, thanks to its innovative single-flow steam expansion design that enhances efficiency, welded rotors, and an independent LP exhaust design that minimizes load onto the base.”
8. The World’s Biggest Rocket Engine
The Saturn V rocket was the largest ever built, at 363 feet (110.6 m) tall and 18.5 feet (5.6 m) tall just for the engine. It was propelled by the F-1 engine, which was built by Rockwell International’s Rocketdyne Division. It had 1.5 million pounds of force and transported the first men to the Moon for six successful landing flights in the Project Apollo program between 1969 and 1972.
The Saturn V weighed 6.1 million pounds when filled with fuel. The F-1’s propellants were a type of kerosene and liquid oxygen pumped at 42,500 gallons per minute by the F-1’s 2,500-pound turbopump.
9. The World’s Biggest Car Engine
The FIAT S76, subsequently called the FIAT 300 HP Record and built between 1910 and 1911, was developed expressly to break the land speed record held at the time by Blitzen Benz. It had a 4-cylinder engine that produced 290 horsepower (290 CV/213kW) at 1,900rpm and had a displacement of 1,730.2 in3 (28,353 cm3). It was so strong that Fiat used heavy-duty metal chains to link the engine to the wheels. The beast had a max speed of 134 mph (215 km/h).
Two engines were initially manufactured, with the first being acquired by Russian Prince Boris Soukhanov before the revolution in 1911. The S76 and its engine were later sent to Australia, where the automobile was outfitted with a Stutz engine before crashing in 1924. Fiat preserved the second S76 and demolished it in 1920.
10. The World’s Largest Marine Engine
The Finnish Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C engine, which powers some of the world’s largest ocean-going container ships, is a marvel of engineering. It is made up of a two-stroke turbo that runs on heavy fuel oil and may be adjusted to run on six to fourteen cylinders.
The RTA-96-C is the world’s biggest reciprocating engine, capable of producing 108,920 horsepower. Its engine has a crankshaft weighing 300 tons and operates at 22 to 102 rpm. It costs $34 per minute to run and consumes more than 39 barrels of oil each hour!
11. One of the most Significant Locomotive Engines Ever Built
Not in terms of length, but this is a large locomotive engine in other ways. This 83-foot-long (25-meter-long) 8,500-bhp beast, named the “Big Blow,” was a genuinely astonishing piece of engineering. It had a three-car configuration. The first housed the control cab and a diesel generator; the second housed a massive oil-burning ten-combustion chamber gas turbine engine, and the third housed 24,000 gallons of gasoline.
This Union Pacific engine was extremely inefficient and was eventually deactivated in 1969.
12. The Massive Caterpillar Engine
Caterpillar’s 797 series hauler truck engines are yet another of the world’s largest. These engines are used to power massive freight trucks, and the biggest in the series, the 797F, is a piece of engineering.
It is propelled by a 106-liter V20 turbo-diesel engine capable of producing 4,000 horsepower. It is so large that a single oil change uses around 178 gallons (675 liters) of oil.
13. The Massive Titan Engine
Another of the world’s largest engines is the EMD 645-169 liter engine. This engine is quite strong and is used in locomotives and hauler trucks, to mention a few applications.
It was used to power the gigantic 231-tonne (now discontinued) Terex 33-19 “Titan” transport truck. These engines feature 16 cylinders, a displacement of slightly under 170 liters, and a maximum power output of roughly 3000bhp at 900rpm. That’s not too shabby.
14. The World’s Largest Commercial Jet Engine
The GE9X is usually regarded as the largest commercial jet engine currently in use. This GE engine was mainly built for use in the New Boeing 777X.
With a massive 134,300 pounds of force, the engine now holds the Guinness World Record for the greatest recorded thrust of any engine in its class. It is also around 10% more efficient than its predecessors.
15. The World’s Largest Surviving Single-Cylinder Beam Engine
Finally, this senior engine is the world’s largest surviving single beam engine. The Grand Junction 100 Inch Engine was manufactured in 1869 by Harvey & Co of Hayle, and it was used to pump water.
This engine was one of just six produced at the company’s facility in Cornwall, England. Around the time of its construction, Harvey engines pumped over 70% of London’s water.
This engine remained in operation until the 1940s when it was retired until the late 1950s.
So there you have it, our selection of some of the world’s biggest engines.