Wärtsilä power plant using ‘killer lake’ gases among PMI’s Top 10 Renewable Energy Projects of the last 50 years

Wärtsilä Corporation, Press release 9 October 2019 at 12:00 UTC+2
  • KivuWatt 1
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The technology group Wärtsilä has been recognised as having delivered one of the world’s Top Ten most influential renewable energy projects of the last 50 years. This recognition has been given by Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s premier association of project professionals. It was announced on October 7 at PMI’s head office in Philadelphia, USA.

The Wärtsilä installation referred to by PMI is the KivuWatt power plant in Kibuye, Rwanda. The 25 MW plant was delivered and installed by Wärtsilä as a complete engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) project in 2015. It operates using Wärtsilä 34SG engines running on methane gas lifted from the depths of Lake Kivu, known as the “killer lake” due to the large quantities of methane gas trapped under a layer of heavy water washed out of the nearby volcanoes.

In accepting the award, Antti Kämi, Vice President, Engine Power Plants, Wärtsilä Energy Business, said; “We are honoured to be awarded this prestigious recognition for our KivuWatt power plant project. The gas that can escape from the lake poses a threat to people living in the vicinity, so by utilising these natural resources we are not only adding much-needed electricity to the grid, but most importantly, we are increasing safety for the local community. This successful plant installation also highlights Wärtsilä’s competences in project management, as well as the technical efficiency and flexibility of our engines.”

The Most Influential Projects list is intended to identify efforts that have changed the world, and transformed an industry or culture in ways that continue to reverberate. More than a thousand projects were considered before the winners were announced.

Wärtsilä 34SG engine was chosen for this project because of its very high simple cycle efficiency, and the fact that it shows no derating at the installation altitude of 1500 metres above sea level. The engines used were optimised to run on Lake Kivu’s methane gas, which has a lower heating value than normal natural gas.

Wärtsilä has already equipped and/or built over 530 plants producing over 7.3 GW of power in 46 African countries and is playing a crucial role in the socio-economic development of the continent.


Most Influental Projects honorees by PMI. Photo courtesy of PMI
KivuWatt Gas Power Plant, Rwanda. Copyright Wärtsilä
Floating barge in Lake Kivu providing methane gas to KivuWatt Gas Power Plant, Rwanda. Copyright Wärtsilä. 

Earlier published:
Wärtsilä power plant mitigates “killer lake” gases in Rwanda
– press release
Reference case 
ContourGlobal’s video, the owner of the power plant 

For further information, please contact:

Petri Polvilampi
Director, Project Management, Africa
Wärtsilä Energy Business
Tel: + 358 40 755 9082

Mirja-Maija Santala
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Wärtsilä Energy Business
Mob: +358 40 079 3827

Wärtsilä Energy Business in brief
Wärtsilä Energy Business is leading the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. As an energy system integrator, we understand, design, build and serve optimal power systems for future generations. Wärtsilä’s solutions provide the needed flexibility to integrate renewables and secure power system reliability. Our offering comprises engine-based flexible power plants – including liquid gas systems – hybrid solar power plants, energy management systems and storage and integration solutions. We support our customers over the lifecycle of their installations with services that enable increased efficiency and guaranteed performance. Wärtsilä has 70 GW of installed power plant capacity in 177 countries around the world.

Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation, total efficiency and data analytics, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2018, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 5.2 billion with approximately 19,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 80 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.