LNG To Fuel Central American Plant

By Jack Burke08 January 2019

Wärtsilä began site work for a 378 MW power plant in El Salvador—one of the first in Central America to be fired by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

This facility, ordered by Energía del Pacífico, will feed electricity to the national grid. A dedicated floating LNG import terminal will be built at the same location.

The power plant will operate on 19 Wärtsilä 50SG engines and a steam turbine in combined cycle, reaching a net plant efficiency of close to 50%. Wärtsilä’s DryFlexicycle technology, which consumes zero cooling water, will be employed thereby enhancing even further the sustainability of the project, the company said. Wärtsilä will also provide operation and maintenance services.

The Wärtsilä 50SG is a four-stroke, spark ignited gas engine that works according to the Otto principle and the lean burn process. The engine runs at 500 or 514 rpm for 50 or 60 Hz applications and produces 18 810 and 19 260 kW of mechanical power respectively

Today close to 50% of the 1600 MW generation capacity in El Salvador is based on oil fuel. The company said the Smart Power Generation plant will serve to lower the price of electricity locally and improve air quality since LNG fuel produces 30% less carbon emissions, and 99% less sulfur dioxide emissions, than conventional oil fuel.

“This project marks an important milestone in the development of the country’s energy mix by utilizing clean natural gas, and through the highly reliable, efficient, and flexible power offered by Wärtsilä’s multi-unit Flexicycle solution,” said Alejandro Alle, managing director of Energía del Pacífico.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place on Dec. 21 and was attended by the Vice President of El Salvador, Óscar Ortiz, the mayor of Sonsonate, Roberto Aquino, as well as local officials and executives from Energía del Pacífico.

Wärtsilä’s installed capacity in Central America and the Caribbean totals 5 GW, and globally more than 68 GW.

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