Wärtsilä delivers world’s first CHP plant using crude jatropha oil to produce electricity and heat

Wärtsilä Corporation, Trade press release, 23 April 2008 at 11:00 UTC+2

Wärtsilä has secured an order for an engine-driven combined heat and power (CHP) plant that will run on the liquid biofuel, which is extracted from the seeds of the jatropha plant. This CHP plant will be the first power plant in the world ever to produce both electricity and heat using crude jatropha oil as fuel.

The power plant will be located in an agricultural area in Merksplas, Belgium. The contract is valued at approximately seven million euros.

The plant will be owned by Greenpower NV, which is a joint venture between Thenergo (50%), the Belgian developer of sustainable energy projects, four local agricultural companies (40%), and a private investor (10%).

“The significance of this order is that it will be the first in the world whereby our engines are to run on vegetable oil from the jatropha plant and to produce both electricity and heat. Jatropha oil is a liquid biofuel that has great potential since jatropha can also be harvested outside the world’s rainforest areas, even near deserts. It is a step towards using CO2-neutral fuels that do not compete with other valuable food crops,” says Ronald Westerdijk, Business Development Manager, Wärtsilä Benelux countries.

Under this turnkey contract, Wärtsilä will deliver the CHP plant utilizing a Wärtsilä 20V32 engine with an electrical output of 9 MW, sufficient to serve approximately 20,000 households. The scope of supply also includes exhaust gas cleaning equipment and heat recovery systems. The plant will have a gross electrical efficiency of 44.2% and an overall efficiency of more than 85%.

Commercial operation of the CHP plant is scheduled to begin in February 2009. Heat from the plant will be used primarily for farming processes, in nearby greenhouses. It will also be used in a drying process, which is part of a livestock farming manure digester plant that processes biogas and dry fertilizer material. Electricity will be sold to the grid.

Wärtsilä is seen as a reliable and experienced partner with a strong portfolio of references in supplying CHP plants operating on liquid biofuel, and the supply of long-term operations and maintenance (O&M) services. Accordingly, Greenpower and Wärtsilä have signed a letter of intent for a 10-year O&M agreement.

Jatropha - A promising fuel

Jatropha oil is extracted from the seeds of the jatropha plant. The seeds are a non-edible, high-energy fruit grown on semi-arid or wasteland. As it is not a food or forage crop, it plays an important role in deterring cattle, and thus protects other valuable food or cash crops. Jatropha seeds can be pressed into vegetable oil that can be used to run diesel engines.The pressed residue of the seeds is a good fertilizer and can also be used for electricity and heat production.

For the past five years Thenergo has been researching the sustainable potential of jatropha. The CHP plant project will help Thenergo’s multifuel approach to the production of sustainable energy. Its strategy is to diversify its feedstock base, namely biogas, natural gas, bio-oil, woody biomass and secondary fuels.

Thenergo in brief

Based in Antwerp, Belgium, Thenergo is a fast growing, fully integrated and independent developer and operator of sustainable energy projects using biogas, natural gas, bio-oil, woody biomass and secondary fuels. Thenergo creates value for its partners and shareholders as a one-stop provider of sustainable energy solutions, transforming clean and renewable fuels into electricity and heat. Since 14 June 2007, Thenergo has been listed on Alternext, Paris.


Wärtsilä in brief

Wärtsilä enhances the business of its customers by providing them with complete lifecycle power solutions. When creating better and environmentally compatible technologies, Wärtsilä focuses on the marine and energy markets with products and solutions as well as services. Through innovative products and services, Wärtsilä sets out to be the most valued business partner of all its customers. This is achieved by the dedication of 17,000 professionals manning 150 Wärtsilä locations in 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on The Nordic Exchange in Helsinki, Finland.


For further information, please contact:

Ronald Westerdijk
Business Development Manager,
Wärtsilä Power Plants, Benelux countries
Tel:  +31653285190
e-mail: ronald.westerdijk@wartsila.com

Maria Nystrand
Public Relations Manager, Power Plants
Wärtsilä Corporation
Tel: +358 10 709 1456
e-mail: maria.nystrand@wartsila.com