Wärtsilä, an international supplier of lifecycle power technology for the marine and energy markets, said Nov. 6 that it is expanding its power portfolio by introducing the capability of using propane as fuel for electric generation.
“Shale oil and gas production has substantially increased the availability of propane in the market,” said Thomas Hägglund, vice president, for technology and solutions at Wärtsilä Energy Solutions. Wärtsilä Energy Solutions is the Wärtsilä company that offers flexible baseload power plants of up to 600 MW that can run on various gaseous and liquid fuels.
Many of Wärtsilä’s customers see an opportunity for using propane now for power generation, Hägglund said.
The Wärtsilä 34SG engine can now 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, the company official said in a news release.
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.
Wärtsilä’s installed power plant capacity is 58 GW in 175 countries around the world. Out of this, more than 10%, or 6 GW are multi-fuel plants. The company has operations in 160 locations in 70 countries around the world and is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki, Finland.