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Wärtsilä to convert African power plant to run on LNG

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The technology group Wärtsilä will convert the 90 MW Bel-Air power plant in Dakar to operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The plant, in the Senegalese capital which is owned by Senelec its public utility company, currently operates on heavy fuel oil.
The conversion will future-proof the facility to lower its carbon footprint of energy production by switching to gas when a domestic supply is available. The order with Wärtsilä was booked in Q1 of this year.
“Our two main aims were to improve the plant’s environmental profile and to lower the operating costs. By taking advantage of Wärtsilä’s deep experience and strong capabilities in power plant gas conversions, we can achieve both of these goals. At the same time, we are preparing the plant for the country’s future gas supply infrastructure,” said Papa Mademba Biteye, managing director of Senelec.
“Future-proofing the customer’s assets to meet the requirements over the lifecycle via a gas conversion is far more cost-effective than building a new plant. It also facilitates the greater use of energy from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, since the converted plant will be able to provide highly flexible, fast-starting baseload power for balancing the grid,” added Marc Thiriet, energy business director of Africa West at Wärtsilä.
The Bel-Air plant’s existing six Wärtsilä 46 engines will be converted to six Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines.
Wärtsilä’s dual-fuel engine technology allows the use of multiple fuels, providing the option to operate on gas with liquid fuels as back-up.
In addition to the Bel-Air plant, Senelec also has three other Wärtsilä power plants in operation in Senegal. Wärtsilä has a leading position in supplying flexible power generation to West Africa with 4792 MW of capacity installed.