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Power for a changing world

Wärtsilä Corporation
Wärtsilä has developed numerous solutions that contribute to reducing greenhouse gases in the marine and energy markets. As a result of long-term development work, the company has developed a range of engines that feature high efficiency, low emissions, and fuel flexibility.

Wärtsilä is a leading supplier of flexible power plants for the decentralised power generation market – and offers solutions and engines for flexible baseload operation, grid stability and peaking services, and industrial self-generation.

Wärtsilä is also the leading ship power system integrator for the marine industry, supplying ship machinery, propulsion, automation, manoeuvring, ship design, and services – serving owners, operators, and yards in the merchant, cruise and ferry, offshore, naval, and special vessel markets.

Customer support extends from design and construction to operation, resulting in true life-cycle solutions that are customised to meet specific design and operational requirements and optimise efficiency and performance. Wärtsilä’s portfolio of services and network is the most extensive in the industry.

Wärtsilä’s centralised environmental products know-how unit – Product Centre Ecotech – focuses on developing and delivering environmental technologies, as well as products for emissions reduction and efficiency improvement. Products are sold via the company’s Ship Power, Services, and Power Plants businesses.

Flexibility on land…

Wärtsilä power plants, for power generation or for combined heat and power (CHP) generation, range in size from 1 MW up to hundreds of MWs and are based on single or multiple engines from Wärtsilä’s range of reciprocating engines. These engines offer significant fuel flexibility, since they can run on a wide range of gases and oils, and even liquid biofuel, and can be converted from one fuel to another if the need arises.

Wärtsilä’s decentralised power plants offer high simple cycle efficiency, even at partial load, operational flexibility, rapid start-up, high availability, and excellent reliability – and represent a competitive alternative or complement to conventional centralised power plants.

Wärtsilä has extensive experience in the design, building, and turnkey supply of power plants, executing over 100 power plant projects every year. As of the end of 2009, Wärtsilä had more than 43 GW of capacity installed in power plants in 166 countries around the world, generating roughly 1% of the world’s electricity.

Wärtsilä is deeply committed to furthering the usage of renewable power sources, such as wind power. Through fast-response solutions that fill the gaps between electricity demand and production smoothly and reliably, wind power can become profitable even in areas with lessthan- ideal weather conditions or where a perfect match between electricity supply and demand is crucial.

Wärtsilä power plants can also run on biofuels, such as vegetable oil produced from soy beans, rapeseed, and jatropha oil. These have the advantage of being carbon neutral, as the CO2 released into the atmosphere during combustion is absorbed back as crops grow.

Working with Italy’s ItalGreen Energy, Wärtsilä has installed the world’s largest power plant (100 MW) fuelled exclusively on straight vegetable oil. This CHP plant in Monopoli in the heart of the country’s Puglia olive-growing region was completed in 2007 and comprises six Wärtsilä 18V46 generating sets.

Italy, in fact, has been one of the markets driving Wärtsilä’s liquid biofuel (LBF) power plant business over the last five years, and the LBF capacity already installed there, under construction, or on order now totals more than 800 MW.

In 2009, Wärtsilä delivered the Greenpower CHP plant in Belgium, the first anywhere to use crude jatropha oil, a next-generation biofuel. The key advantage of this fuel is that jatropha can be grown in semi-arid conditions or on wasteland that cannot be used for food crops. The plant is based on a 9 MW Wärtsilä 20V32 engine, supplying heat and power, with an electrical efficiency of more than 44% and an overall efficiency of more than 85%, and saving more than 36,000 t/a in CO2 emissions.

…and at sea

The Viking Lady has been designed by Wärtsilä and is equipped with a complete integrated Wärtsilä propulsion and power electronics system. Photo by Oddgeir Refvik
Increasingly-stringent emission regulations with IMO (International Maritime Organization) Tier II & III and ECA (emission control area) zone implementations, together with volatile fuel prices, mean that ship owners and operators are facing serious challenges. Solutions for complying with new environmental rules while maintaining costefficient operations vary, but only one – natural gas – appears to meet all requirements.

Fuel flexibility enables owners and operators to select the most suitable fuel while taking account of local environmental restrictions, fuel price variations, and bunkering availability. A unique feature of Wärtsilä DF dual-fuel engines is their ability to run on natural gas, marine diesel oil, heavy fuel oil, and biofuels, providing maximum flexibility in fuel choice.

In marine applications, fuel flexibility also represents a significant safety feature. In the case of an interruption to the gas supply, Wärtsilä DF dual-fuel engines switch to diesel operation automatically, without any loss in speed or power output. Single-fuel installations do not have this additional level of operational safety.

To date, Wärtsilä DF dual-fuel technology has accumulated more than 1,500,000 engine hours, and the total power installed will reach 4,000,000 kW by the end of 2010.

Wärtsilä’s extensive gas product portfolio is supported by in-depth know-how, competence, and design capability. Wärtsilä is an ideal system integrator for optimising propulsion-related equipment; and the Wärtsilä range covers natural gas storage, processing and distribution onboard, LNG use in DF engines (both main and auxiliary), power distribution, propulsion equipment, and control and automation systems.

Azerbaijan has decentralised its complete electricity system using Wärtsilä technology. Rather than build large central power plants and a new national grid, clean gas power plants have been built in population centres, feeding power directly to consumers.
(Published in HighTech Finland 2010)