Wärtsilä was contracted to extend a liquid biofuel-fired plant in Monopoli, on the southeast coast of Italy. The contract comprises a third Wärtsilä 18V32 diesel generating set burning vegetable oil. Previously Wärtsilä had been selected to supply the first two generating sets (2 x 8 MWe), which were handed over in August 2004.
After completion of the extension, in summer 2005, the total combined heat and power (CHP) plant output is reaching 24 MW electrical output. The first two units plus the additional one have been at full load in commercial operation since the plants were started up, with a logged average plant availability of over 95%.
The main purpose of the power plant, located inside an existing vegetable oil refinery, is to produce ‘green’ electricity to be sold to the national grid via a 150 kV connection at a fixed price, as well as steam and power to satisfy the factory process demand. The extended baseload power plant is operating for 8000 hours per year. The plant owner is ItalGreen Energy, part of the Casa Olearia Italiana Group (COI), a major Italian food oil producer.
A biodiesel production plant is also owned and operated by COI. As the energy company of the COI group, ItalGreen Energy focuses on renewables and biomass-fired power systems. It has actively exploited the current opportunities for green certificates provided by the Italian authorities and also encouraged by EU directives. With three generations of know-how in oil refining and treatment processes, ItalGreen Energy now operates worldwide in its core business.
The 24 MW Monopoli plant is the result of successful project co-operation between Wärtsilä and ItalGreen Energy which started in 2002. The Wärtsilä 18V32 solution was selected as the best and most profitable choice due its high product quality, good engine performance and brand guarantee.
Wärtsilä has been responsible for the fuel tests, detailed engineering, full generating set package delivery, start-up and erection supervision, while ItalGreen Energy handled the civil works, erection and site activities for the plant.
“The high level of knowledge and experience of the people involved, on both the ItalGreen Energy and Wärtsilä sides, together with a good working relationship, have been key factors in helping us reach our targets,” comments Mr Leonardo Marseglia, President of COI. “We are happy to see that the tough work, especially at the fuel testing stage, has been well rewarded. All of us can be proud of this project and its results.”