The technology group Wärtsilä will convert the close to 90 MW Bel-Air power plant in Dakar, Senegal to operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG). The plant, which is owned by Senelec, Senegal’s public utility company, currently operates on heavy fuel oil. The conversion will future-proof the facility as Senegal’s long-term strategy is to lower the carbon footprint of energy production by switching to gas when a domestic supply is available. This project is part of an interim LNG-to-Power ‘bridge’ solution, and is the first ever power plant gas conversion in Senegal. The order with Wärtsilä was booked in Q1 2021.
“Our two main aims were to improve the plant’s environmental profile and to lower the operating costs. By taking advantage of Wärtsilä’s deep experience and strong capabilities in power plant gas conversions, we can achieve both of these goals. At the same time, we are preparing the plant for the country’s future gas supply infrastructure,” said Papa Mademba Biteye, Managing Director of Senelec.
“Future-proofing the customer’s assets to meet the requirements over the lifecycle via a gas conversion is far more cost-effective than building a new plant. It also facilitates the greater use of energy from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, since the converted plant will be able to provide highly flexible, fast-starting baseload power for balancing the grid,” commented Marc Thiriet, Energy Business Director, Africa West, Wärtsilä.
The Bel-Air plant’s existing six Wärtsilä 46 engines will be converted to six Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines. Wärtsilä’s current operation & maintenance agreement covering the existing engines is being renegotiated in view of the conversion. Wärtsilä’s dual-fuel engine technology allows the use of multiple fuels, providing the option to operate on gas with liquid fuels as back-up.
Besides the engine conversion, the project will cover all aspects to ensure successful operations on gas. Everything from safety to operational reliability are taken into account, with control functions, mechanical auxiliary systems, as well as electrical and automation systems being changed or upgraded as required. As part of the engineering, procurement, and construction contract, Wärtsilä will manage all phases of the project, which is expected to be completed before the end of 2021.
In addition to the Bel-Air plant, Senelec also has three other Wärtsilä power plants in operation in Senegal. Wärtsilä has a leading position in supplying flexible power generation to West Africa with 4792 MW of capacity installed.
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Image1 and 2: Conversion of six Wärtsilä engines to Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines will enable Senelec to provide highly flexible, fast-starting baseload power from Bel-Air plant for balancing the grid ©Wärtsilä Corporation
Image 3 of the control room: ©Senelec
Wärtsilä Energy in brief
Wärtsilä Energy leads the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. We help our customers in decarbonisation by developing market-leading technologies. These cover future-fuel enabled balancing power plants, hybrid solutions, energy storage and optimisation technology, including the GEMS energy management platform. Wärtsilä Energy’s lifecycle services are designed to increase efficiency, promote reliability and guarantee operational performance. Our track record comprises 74 GW of power plant capacity and more than 80 energy storage systems delivered to 180 countries around the world. https://www.wartsila.com/energy
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 2019, 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. www.wartsila.com