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Wärtsilä Equipment Selected For Italian Bio-Fuelled Power Plant

Posted on October 21, 2009

Wärtsilä has been contracted to supply the engineering and equipment for a new bio-fuelled power plant being built in Gorizia, in northern Italy. The 34 MWe power plant will generate baseload electricity for the national grid, as well as heat to be supplied to a steam turbine for further electricity production. This order, when delivered, will bring the total output of electricity in Italy generated by Wärtsilä equipment to more than 1300 MW. Some 800 MW of this output is running on liquid biofuel, which represents a considerable contribution towards reducing the country's reliance on fossil fuels.

"Our presence in Italy is already substantial, and this latest contract is a continuation of this success," comments Marco Gollinelli, Vice President, Wärtsilä Power Plants in Italy in announcing this order. Wärtsilä first began testing the use of liquid biofuels in 1995, using rapeseed oil as the fuel source. Since that time tests have continued and expanded, with the first commercial operation for Wärtsilä engines running on liquid biofuel taking place in 2003 in Italy. Today, Wärtsilä has a market share of more than 95% for power generation from liquid biofuels in Italy.

Delivery of all equipment to the Gorizia power plant is scheduled for May 2010, and the plant is expected to be in full operation by next autumn. The order was placed in September by Energia Pulita S.p.A of Italy, and comprises two Wärtsilä 18V46 engines running on liquid biofuel, as well as liquid biofuel auxiliaries, the control system and radiators. Energia Pulita is a member of the Italian Setramar Group, a company active in a number of industry segments including energy production.

Wärtsilä power plants can operate on vegetable oils such as palm oil and oil from the jatropha plant, a non-edible, high energy fruit grown on semi-arid or marginal land in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Earlier this year, the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland successfully conducted tests demonstrating the ability of Wärtsilä engines to operate on animal, as well as vegetable-based, oils. In particular, fish oil and chicken oil were found to be particularly suitable as sources of renewable energy.

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