Wärtsilä converting power plant to run on natural gas
By Jack Burke18 March 2021
Update will help transition to renewables, company says
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 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 changed 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.
“The goal for Taiwan’s power utilities is to have 20% 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 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.
“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,” said Jeff Chang, president of Ta-Yuan Congen Co., Ltd.
The grid balancing solutions provided by Wärtsilä’s engine technology are helping the energy industry along the path towards a 100% 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.