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Barajas Airport + Wärtsilä

Reference case

Flexible and reliable back-up power to prevent blackouts in Barajas airport, Madrid

Wärtsilä and SAMPOL have forged a rock-solid relationship since first collaborating on a flexible power plant to provide reliable energy to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport in 2005. The partnership has gone from strength to strength, and 15 years later a fourth extension has been signed to renew the maintenance agreement until 2024.

Partnership delivers long-term availability and efficiency

The Wärtsilä technologies, which have helped SAMPOL to deliver a consistently high level of performance to their client, are part of a combined heat and power (CHP) facility that provides electricity, heating and cooling to Terminal 4, the airport’s main terminal, and Terminal 4S.

The plant supplies backup power for the airport, meaning that it must be always available. As well as offering a high level of availability, Wärtsilä’s solution was initially selected for its ability to provide high power density and to operate for long periods between major overhauls. When combined with the agreement for lifecycle services featuring responsive on-site support, which allowed SAMPOL to maintain impressive efficiency levels over a sustained period, the solution was ideal for the long-term provision of power to the airport.

The first maintenance agreement was signed in July 2005, marking the beginning of an ongoing successful cooperation between SAMPOL and Wärtsilä. The latest renewal, which includes maintenance management services, technical support with upgrade recommendations, and logistical support, was signed in October 2019 and will run until 2024.

Long-term agreement supports efficient operations

The equipment Wärtsilä supplied for the plant includes six dual-fuel engines that run on gas around 99% of the time but can be instantly switched to diesel whenever the need arises. This dual-fuel system provides redundancy and is a functionality that few manufacturers were able to offer at the time.

Once the plant was installed, SAMPOL and Wärtsilä formed a close partnership to take care of the management of its day-to-day operations. With Wärtsilä’s help, SAMPOL has been able to achieve consistently high availability and reliability, with no major issues over almost 110,000 hours of operation per engine since the plant was commissioned in 2005. The plant has continued to perform reliably, providing the promised efficiency levels – or better – over the long term and matching the efficiency ratings that would be expected with a new-build plant.

What33 MW power plant + long term service agreement
HowEPC (Engineering, procurement & construction)

This is what we achieved


running hours and counting, ever since installed in 2005

4 x

renewals of the long-term maintenance agreement

The plant has been extremely successful, providing impressive availability and efficiency. Continuing our relationship with Wärtsilä has been an easy decision as they’ve been a hugely important part of this success.

David Gabiola, Power Plant Manager, SAMPOL

How we did it

Challenge icon


  • Need for efficient power with long-term support
  • Backup power generation and continuous heating and cooling at Barajas Airport in Madrid, Spain
  • Need for reliable, always-available power
Solution icon


  • Long-term service agreement to maintain high performance levels
  • Advisory service with Wärtsilä expert on site at all times
  • 33 MW power plant with Wärtsilä 18V32DF (dual-fuel) engines
Benefit icon


  • Performance has always matched or exceeded agreed efficiency
  • Timely resolution of any issues
  • Reliable and efficient power generation
Barajas_panorama_1920 x 690 px

The main details

Wärtsilä 33MW power plant with long-term maintenance agreement and onsite advisory service
Operating mode
6 x Wärtsilä 18V32DF (dual-fuel) engines
Total output
 33 MW
Natural gas and light fuel oil (LFO)


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