As gas grids expand and emission levels continue to tighten, conversion to natural gas is an increasingly viable alternative for power plants. Wärtsilä engines are flexible and easily adapted to using gas as a primary fuel, helping to cut operational costs and exhaust gas emissions while increasing fuel flexibility. Gas conversion is one key feature in future-proofing power plants, as it enables transition to synthetic, sustainable fuels in the future.
Wärtsilä offers the following conversion options:
Convertible engine types are
As natural gas is both attractively priced and efficient, converting an existing engine to operate on gas offers significant economic and environmental benefits. Gas also offers you increased operational flexibility as other fuels can still be used if needed. A gas conversion helps to future-proof your plant by allowing you to transition to synthetic fuels at a later date and enables integration of renewable energy sources by providing reliable balancing.
Case example: the impact of fuel type and technology on levelised cost of energy.
The example demonstrates the impact of technology and fuel type on levelised cost of energy. The example is based on a 100 MW power plant, with six W18V46 engines. The actual values are not directly applicable for any power plant, but will depend on several variables and factors.
Case: Delimara gas conversion
Shanghai Electric Power reduced both electricity production costs and emission levels at their Delimara 3 Power Plant in Malta as eight Wärtsilä HFO-fuelled engines were converted to run on natural gas including installation of the new UNIC C3 engine control system. This means a lower heat rate for the engines, increased efficiency, higher power output capacity, and lower emissions, in other words, reduced operational costs.
The technology group Wärtsilä will carry out the conversion of a Taiwanese power plant from its current reliance on heavy fuel oil (HFO) to operate on natural gas. The project is being carried under a full engineering, procurement, and construction contract issued by the plant owner Ta-Yuan Cogen, a developer of cogeneration plants. The order with Wärtsilä was placed in February 2021.
The cogeneration plant, located in Taoyuan City, Taiwan, was originally equipped in 1998 with three Wärtsilä 46 engines. As part of the conversion project, these will be converted to three Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines providing a power output of 32 MW. The electricity produced will be delivered both to the grid and to local industrial consumers, while the generated heat will be supplied to industries in the vicinity of the plant.
The conversion will improve the efficiency of the plant, provide the needed flexibility to allow participation in the ancillary service market, notably improve environmental sustainability by reducing emissions, and support grid balancing as energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, is added.
“Our company is committed to promoting cogeneration, improving energy efficiency to ease pressure on the domestic power supply, and to save environment. By converting this plant to operate on gas instead of HFO, we are endorsing this commitment. We have enjoyed a long-term relationship with Wärtsilä and appreciate their professionalism and expertise in planning this project,” commented Jeff Chang, President of Ta-Yuan Congen Co., Ltd.
“The goal for Taiwan’s power utilities is to have twenty percent of their energy from renewables by 2025. This will affect the stability of the grid, and efficient balancing to offset the inherent fluctuations in supply is essential. The Wärtsilä engines have the fast-starting and stopping flexibility to meet this need and to deliver the system reliability required,” said Nicolas Leong, Director, North & South East Asia, Wärtsilä Energy.
The grid balancing solutions provided by Wärtsilä’s engine technology are helping the energy industry along the path towards a 100 percent renewable energy future, which will be a major contribution in combating climate change. The company is heavily investing in the development of alternative carbon-neutral fuels, and its engines are already largely able to accept such fuels when they become commercially available, making them future-proof.
The project is scheduled to commence in autumn 2021 and is expected to be fully completed in early 2022.
The conversion of power plants to gas fuel operation is increasing globally as the natural gas supply infrastructure continues to expand. Wärtsilä has extensive experience in carrying out gas conversions, resulting in increased efficiency, higher power output capacity, and lower levels of exhaust emissions, all of which serve to lower the overall plant operational costs.
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Image caption: As part of the conversion project, Wärtsilä will change three Wärtsilä 46 engines to Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines in Ta-Yuan Cogen’s cogeneration plant in Taoyuan City, Taiwan. © Ta-Yuan Cogen
Wärtsilä Energy in brief
Wärtsilä Energy leads the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. We help our customers unlock the value of the energy transition by optimising their energy systems and future-proofing their assets. Our offering comprises flexible power plants, energy management systems, and storage, as well as lifecycle services that ensure increased efficiency and guaranteed performance. Wärtsilä has delivered 72 GW of power plant capacity in 180 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 2020, Wärtsilä's net sales totalled EUR 4.6 billion with approximately 18,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki