Wärtsilä is expanding its Smart Power Generation portfolio by introducing the capability of using propane as fuel for power generation.

The company told Power Engineering International its clients are attracted by the versatility environmentally-solid nature of the multi-fuel solution.

“Shale oil and gas production has substantially increased the availability of propane in the market. Many of Wärtsilä’s customers see an opportunity for using propane power generation,” says Thomas Hägglund, Vice President, Technology and Solutions at Wärtsilä Energy Solutions.
Hägglund points out that the multi-fuel capability is one of Wärtsilä’s traditional strengths. Now the market-leading Wärtsilä 34SG engine can be used not only with natural gas, but also as a dual-fuel engine that can run on natural gas or propane without physical modifications to the engine.  

Propane is the main component in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which is commonly used in cooking appliances and vehicles, and increasingly offered for power production. LPG is a by-product of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. By replacing heavy fuel oil with propane, carbon dioxide and other emissions from a power plant can be significantly reduced.

Wärtsilä’s first propane-fired project using two 20V34SG gas engines is currently under construction in El Salvador and will be operational by the end of 2015.

Jussi Laitinen, Communications Manager at Wartsila Energy Solutions told Power Engineering International, that the company gets a lot of inquiries about small and large LPG projects.

“Customers are interested in LPG especially in areas where natural gas is not available. And in areas where gas will be available in the future (LNG plans in islands for example). LPG can serve as a temporary solution as the same power plant can run on both fuels.

Wartsila’s customers also find appealing the fact that LPG is one of the cleanest fossil fuels. Replacing oil with propane reduces various emissions significantly.

“The El Salvador project is a key reference for us,” says Laitinen.