Tag Archives: Wärtsilä

Wärtsilä energy storage system reinforces Zenith Energy’s power plan at Australian underground mine

Wärtsilä will supply a 9.2 MW/8.7 MWh energy storage system to Zenith Energy, an Independent Power Producer in Australia, to address a cyclic load demand in an underground mine.

The installed energy storage system will operate in parallel with an existing dual fuel engine power plant currently with total capacity of 65.98 MW, Wärtsilä says.

The energy storage system will be delivered on an engineered equipment delivery basis and is expected to become operational in the March quarter of 2022. The order was booked in June 2021.

Zenith Energy is a repeat customer for Wärtsilä and had previously procured three operating Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engines that are used for constant load feed. Zenith will add a further two Wärtsilä 34SG pure gas engines to the current fleet in 2022.

The new energy storage system, combining the fully integrated GridSolv Quantum modules and GEMS Digital Energy Platform, will cater to a more frequent cycling load, the company says. Adding storage will save the engines from frequent ramping by managing the power fluctuations of the mining site, therefore improving the operational efficiency, resulting in fuel savings and a lower carbon footprint for the mine’s power plant.

Simon Jelly, Technology and Infrastructure Manager, Zenith Energy, says: “Wärtsilä as the supplier of both engine and the energy storage systems provides the best solution available for us to feed power efficiently to our end customer. The addition of an energy storage system to also work as spinning reserve to provide emergency back-up and short duration power, will mitigate any power interruptions. Should such situations occur, the system will supply load until a stand-by engine is started. Moreover, the storage system will help further reduce the plant’s carbon footprint.”

Kari Punnonen, Energy Business Director, Australasia, Wärtsilä, says: “For islanded grids, such as mining plants, where the source of power is limited, our energy storage solution can manage the reliability and efficiency of the system and also support their decarbonisation initiative. Repeat business with our customer Zenith Energy, reaffirms our technology leadership and commitments towards this market.”

Wärtsilä’s GEMS Digital Energy Platform will integrate Zenith’s engines and operate as a Power Plant Controller, providing a platform for intelligent control and optimised operation for the hybrid plant, it says. GEMS is also capable of managing the remote grid under a single portfolio in future operations.

With Wärtsilä’s energy storage and advanced energy management system, there will be future opportunities for Zenith to seamlessly integrate other renewable energy sources such as  photovoltaic solar or wind into this hybrid network, it says.

Optimising energy management at B2Gold’s Fekola mine

The delivery of a cutting-edge 17 MW/15 MWh energy storage platform and Wärtsilä’s advanced GEMS system is optimising energy management at B2Gold’s Fekola gold in Mali, Luke Witmer* writes.

Since B2Gold first acquired the Fekola gold mine, located in a remote corner of southwest Mali, exploration studies revealed the deposits to be almost double the initial estimates.

A recent site expansion has just been completed, and while the existing power units provide enough power to support the increase in production, the company sought to reduce its energy costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and increase power reliability.

The addition of a 35 MWp solar photovoltaic (PV) plant and 17 MW/15 MWh of energy storage to the existing 64 MW thermal engine plant was decided. This new energy mix is anticipated to save over 13 million litres of fuel, reduce carbon emissions by 39,000 t/y, and generate a payback in just over four years.

Such an elaborate hybrid configuration needs a powerful brain to deliver on all its potential: Wärtsilä’s GEMS, an advanced energy management system, has been set up to control the energy across the fleet of power sources, thermal, renewable, and battery storage. The integration, control, and optimisation capabilities provided by GEMS allow the thermal units to be run at the most efficient rate and enable the battery storage to handle the large load step changes and volatility of the solar PV generation assets.

Integrated hybrid energy solution

In the context of the Fekola mine, which is an off-grid electrical island, the battery is performing a lot of different services simultaneously, including frequency response, voltage support, shifting solar energy, and providing spinning reserves. The energy load is very flat, with a steady consumption rate around 40 MW as the mining equipment is operating consistently, 24/7. However, if an engine trips offline and fails, the battery serves as an emergency backstop. The controls reserve enough battery energy capacity to fill the power gap for the time it takes to get another engine started, and the software inside each inverter enables the battery to respond instantaneously to any frequency deviation.

The reciprocating engines operate most efficiently at 85-90% of their capacity: this is their ‘sweet spot’. But if there is a sudden spike in demand, if a little more power is needed, or if mining equipment is coming online, then another engine needs to be run to meet the extra load.

With the battery providing spinning reserves, the engines can be kept running at their sweet spot, reducing the overall cost per kilowatt hour. Moreover, with the solar plant providing power during the day, three to four engines can be shut down over this period, providing a quiet time to carry out preventive maintenance. This really helps the maintenance cycle, ensuring that the engines operate in a more efficient manner.

Solar PV volatility can be intense. On a bright day with puffy clouds passing by, a solar farm of this size can easily see ramps of 25 MW over a couple of minutes. This requires intelligent controls, dynamically checking the amount of solar that can be let into the grid without causing an issue for the engine loadings or without overloading the battery.

Conducting the orchestra

The GEMS intelligent software provides the optimisation layer that controls all the power sources to ensure that they work together in harmony. The user interface (UI) gives access to all the data and presents it in a user-friendly way. Accessible remotely, all operations are simulated on a digital twin in the cloud to verify the system controls and simulate the most efficient operating scenarios to lower the cost of energy.

This is an important software feature, both during and after commissioning as it allows operators to train on the platform ahead of time and familiarise themselves with the automated controls and dynamic curtailment of renewables. The UI provides the forecast for renewables and the battery charge status at any given moment, it can provide push email or phone notifications for alerts; telling operators when to turn off an engine and when to turn it back on.

The software is constantly analysing the data and running the math to solve the economic dispatch requirements and unit commitment constraints to ensure grid reliability and high engine efficiency. Load forecasting integrates the different trends and patterns that are detectable in historic data as well as satellite based solar forecasting to provide a holistic approach to dispatching power. The Fekola site has a sky imager, or cloud tracking camera with a fisheye lens, that provides solar forecasts for the next half hour in high temporal resolution.

To ensure that operators really understand the platform, and have visibility over the advanced controls, the UI provides probability distributions of the solar forecast. Tracking the forecast errors enables operators to see whether the solar is overproducing or underproducing what the forecast was expecting at the time and provides visibility to the operators on the key performance indicators. This feedback is an important part of the machine/human interface and provides operators with insight if an engine is required to be turned on at short notice.

Automated curtailment enables the optimisation of the system providing a reactivity that people cannot match. By continually monitoring the engine loadings and battery, the system is ready to clamp down on solar if it gets too volatile or exceeds some spinning reserve requirement. For example, if a large, unexpected cloud arrives, the battery is dispatched to fill the gap while the engines ramp up. Once the cloud disappears, however, the engines remain committed to operating for a few hours, and the solar power is transferred to recharge the battery.

Over time, as load patterns shift, the load forecasting algorithm will also be dynamically updating to match the changing realities of the load. As mining equipment hits layers of harder rock, increasing the power load, the system will adjust and dispatch the engines accordingly.

The new gold standard

The Fekola mine project incorporates the largest off-grid hybrid power solution in the world, demonstrating the growing case for clean energy and its sustainable and economic potential for mines in Africa and beyond.

As the cost of batteries and solar panels continues to become more competitive, hybrid solutions are proving to be a realistic and effective means for increasing energy reliability and lowering operating costs in any context, thus freeing up resources to improve the human condition; whether through cheaper materials and gainful employment, or by providing broader access to reliable electricity for healthcare, education, and improved quality of life.

*This piece was written by Luke Witmer, General Manager, Data Science, Wärtsilä Energy Storage and Optimization

Wärtsilä takes on power plant performance contract at Lihir gold mine

Wärtsilä is to help optimise the performance of the Lihir gold mine’s 170 MW power plant, in Papua New Guinea, as part of a 10-year tailored guaranteed asset performance agreement signed with Lihir Gold Ltd, part of Newcrest Mining.

The agreement has shared business case incentives based on key performance indicators (KPIs), which reduce operational cost and enhance power availability, supporting the mine’s production targets, according to Wärtsilä.

The 10-year agreement, worth over €150 million ($183 million), was signed in October and is targeted to take effect from the end of the March quarter. The expected revenues for 24 months of operation, some €20 million, have been included in Wärtsilä’s order book in the December quarter.

Lihir’s 170 MW power plant provides a critical electricity supply to run the operations of the mine. It has 22 Wärtsilä engines, of which the last one was commissioned in 2013.

The incentivised KPIs will lead to an increase in revenue and a reduction in operational cost, according to Wärtsilä, with the partnership enabling Lihir Gold to focus on gold production while Wärtsilä takes care of optimising the power plant performance.

The agreement will also provide the customer with maintenance and parts cost predictability, including a reduction in working capital.

The agreement includes full technical support, real-time monitoring of the equipment from Wärtsilä’s Expertise Centres, condition-based maintenance and asset diagnostic reporting, operational advisory support, as well as all planned and unplanned maintenance of the generator sets and auxiliaries. The agreement KPIs with shared incentives are based on fuel and oil consumption and power availability, with the option to adjust these KPIs by mutual agreement should the market change.

Daniel May, Manager – Power, Utilities, Projects & Engineering, Lihir, Newcrest Mining, said: “During the initial market engagement process, it was determined that Wärtsilä’s experience, track record and capabilities in Papua New Guinea made them the best partner to further develop the partnership agreement that has now been signed. This is a flexible solution that delivers incentives and benefits to both parties.”

Henri van Boxtel, Energy Business Director, Wärtsilä Energy, added: “This agreement takes a holistic approach to the plant’s operations and maintenance, and reflects the importance of the strategic partnership between Wärtsilä and the customer. By linking the availability and performance of the power generating plant to the mine’s productivity, we are establishing a flexible and beneficial business case that promotes efficiency and delivers real value over the entire lifecycle of the power plant. We are at the same time aiming to increase the reliability of the electrical supply, which can help raise the mine’s output.”

The total installed base of Wärtsilä’s power generating equipment in a number of projects in Papua New Guinea is 381 MW, of which 170 MW has been supplying power to Lihir Gold.

First Wärtsilä Modular Block destined for Resolute’s Syama gold mine

Wärtsilä has announced the first order of its innovative new Wärtsilä Modular Block solution for power generation to Aggreko, with four Wärtsilä Modular Block enclosures – with one medium-speed Wärtsilä 32 engine in each – to provide 40 MW of energy to Resolute Mining’s Syama gold mine, in Mali.

The Modular Block order was placed by Aggreko in November 2019 and the contract is the first one signed under the cooperation agreement between Wärtsilä and Aggreko, announced in June.

The pre-fabricated, modular, and expandable enclosures feature medium-speed Wärtsilä 32 and 34 family engines, can run on a variety of fuels and can operate as a re-deployable power generation solution, according to Wärtsilä. “The Wärtsilä Modular Block solution can be installed in a matter of weeks, and can be expanded to accommodate increased energy needs. Similarly, it can be dismantled and relocated to alternative locations as and when required, making it highly suited to temporary power generation,” Wärtsilä said.

Resolute announced last month that it was partnering with Aggreko on this power solution, saying that the thermal element of the project was expected to be implemented in partnership with Wärtsilä using its new Modular Block technology and design.

“The Wärtsilä Modular Block solution will replace the existing diesel generators currently powering the mine,” the company said, adding that the high efficiency of the engines should result in “substantial monthly savings” in fuel costs.

It added: “Fast-starting and load following capabilities will facilitate the integration of renewables into the mine’s energy system. The mine will be powered by a reliable, flexible and affordable solution, which will help to enhance the mine’s environmental impact.”

Three Wärtsilä Modular Blocks, providing a total of 30 MW of power will be installed next to the existing power station in 2020. The fourth 10 MW Modular Block will be installed in 2022, with an option to add a fifth 10 MW unit to the power plant.

Stephane Le Corre, Strategy and Development Director at Aggreko, said: “The Wärtsilä Modular Block supports our technology investment strategy and, when included as part of a hybrid solution, has enabled us to offer Resolute an extremely cost-effective solution for 16 years.”

Jean Nabb, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Wärtsilä Energy Business, said: “The Wärtsilä Modular Block solution opens up exciting new opportunities, both for permanent and rental electricity generation. We are delighted to be partnering with Aggreko in this rapidly growing market, and this first order is encouraging for the future success of our cooperation.”

Under the agreement between Aggreko and Wärtsilä, Wärtsilä will provide the technology and design for the core power generation equipment, with Aggreko incorporating Wärtsilä’s Modular Block enclosure and power generation within its Rental/Power Solutions sales offering.

Wärtsilä to continue supplying power for Masbate gold mine in Philippines

Wärtsilä has signed a four-year extension to its operation and maintenance (O&M) agreement with PhilGold Processing and Refining Corp (PGPRC), a gold mining operation in the Philippines.

The company’s Masbate mine is dependent upon its own power plant to provide the electricity needed to run its operations, and reliability of supply is mission critical, according to Wärtsilä.
Wärtsilä has run and maintained the plant since 2009, delivering reliability through high plant availability, and enabling PGPRC to consistently meet its production targets. The extension to the agreement was placed with Wärtsilä in June 2019.

The remotely located plant operates on three 18-cylinder and two 16-cylinder Wärtsilä Vasa 32 engines and one 12-cylinder Wärtsilä 32 engine, and has a total power output of 36.93 MW. The plant is located around 360 km southeast of the country’s capital, Manila. There is no connection to the grid, and the island-mode plant is the sole provider of energy to the mine.

Eugene Occena, Process Plant Manager, PGPRC, said: “For the past 10 years Wärtsilä has operated and maintained our power plant, which has freed us up to concentrate on our main business of mining. They have carried out this work with the utmost efficiency and have tailored the agreement to meet our specific needs and wishes.”

Erwin Vanderkerff, Director, Service unit Australasia, Wärtsilä Energy Business, said: “For PGPRC the adjusted agreement means O&M at set cost with no surprises, and technical support always at hand. In this we utilise Wärtsilä Expertise Centre for providing remote operational support and extensive technical support.

“The customer’s evolving requirements have been answered to by the further customised scope of the agreement. Performance guarantees covering heat rate and annual availability of the power plant have been defined. The extended agreement creates peace of mind for PGPRC, and it can concentrate in its core business.”

In the Philippines, Wärtsilä has altogether 2,000 MW of installed power capacity, of which 110 MW is operated and maintained by Wärtsilä under O&M agreements.

Aggreko and Wärtsilä to bring ‘completely new concept’ to power market

Just a day after announcing the launch of its new Modular Block, Wärtsilä has entered into a co-operation agreement with Aggreko to introduce “a completely new concept to the power market” built around the power plant solution.

This pre-fabricated, modular, and expandable enclosure features medium-speed Wärtsilä 32 and 34 family engines which can run on a variety of fuels and, as a re-deployable power generation solution, enables new business and financing models, such as power as a service or rentals, according to Wärtsilä.

“The Wärtsilä Modular Block solution can be installed in a matter of weeks, and can be expanded to accommodate increased energy needs. Similarly, it can be dismantled and relocated to alternative locations as and when required, making it highly suited to temporary power generation,” Wärtsilä said.

Under the agreement, Wärtsilä will provide the technology and design for the core power generation equipment, with Aggreko, a leading provider of mobile modular power, temperature control and energy services, incorporating Wärtsilä’s Modular Block enclosure and power generation within its Rental/Power Solutions sales offering.

According to Wärtsilä, the use of its medium-speed engines in the Modular Block introduces a totally new efficiency dimension to the temporary power market. “This results in major savings in fuel consumption and operating costs, while harmful greenhouse gas emissions are considerably reduced.”

Furthermore, the solution is easy to integrate with renewable energy and storage systems, making it ideal for providing grid stability and balancing when integrating more intermittent renewable energy sources. The medium-size engines can run on natural gas, as well as biofuel for a fully sustainable solution.

Jean Nabb, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Wärtsilä Energy Business, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Aggreko to enter this rapidly growing market. Aggreko is the global leader in mobile, modular power, and the Wärtsilä Modular Block solution opens up exciting new opportunities both for stationary and temporary electricity generation of up to 100 MW.”

Stephane Le Corre, Strategy and Commercial Development Director, Aggreko, said: “We recognise the growing market for distributed generation, and the increasing need for new thermal power solutions that are cost-comparable with permanent generation. We see a number of potential applications for Wärtsilä’s Modular Block on projects of typically five-to-10 year duration, with its ability to achieve high levels of efficiency, while still being re-deployable.”

Wärtsilä provides more engine technology applications with Modular Block

Wärtsilä says its newly launched Modular Block is a reliable and efficient solution for sustainable power generation, with fast delivery and installation.

The power plant solution is a pre-fabricated, modularly configured, and expandable enclosure for Wärtsilä medium-speed 34SG gas engine generators. Aside from the gas engine generator, the Wärtsilä Modular Block concept’s enclosure incorporates engine-specific auxiliary units, enabling a reduction in on-site installation time from “several months to a few weeks”, depending on the full scope of supply, Wärtsilä said.

“The concept thus makes Wärtsilä’s advanced medium-speed engine technology available for applications where it would not otherwise be viable with a conventional custom designed permanent building,” the company said, while adding that medium-speed engine technology has inherently higher efficiency and lower lifecycle costs than containerised high-speed engines or gas turbine solutions.

Wärtsilä says it can offer the Wärtsilä Modular Block as a full engineering, procurement and construction project, with the solution expandable to accommodate increased energy demand and to respond to fast-growing customer business needs. The concept also enables dismantling and relocation, meaning it offers new business models, such as power as a service or rentals.

On top of this, the Wärtsilä Modular Block is easy to integrate with renewable energy and storage systems, according to the company. “It is ideal for providing grid stability and balancing when integrating renewable energy sources with intermittent production.”

The flexibility of the concept enables timely expansion with minimal front-end investments, or relocation to accommodate changing power generating requirements, Wärtsilä said.

“This, combined with the high efficiency of the power generation asset, the minimised on-site installation time, and its configurability with external systems, makes the Wärtsilä Modular Block an excellent solution for many power generation enterprises,” the company said. “It can be a perfect fit for industrial customers or utilities, and for independent power producers associated with them.”

Antti Kämi, Vice President, Engine Power Plants, Wärtsilä Energy Business, said the Wärtsilä Modular Block takes the company’s experience and know-how in prefabricated modular power plants to the “next level, combining modularity and ease of use with superior medium-speed engine performance”.

Kämi added: “Modular Block, being a cost-effective solution that is configurable to different needs, scalable and re-deployable, brings fast and reliable power wherever needed.”

Wärtsilä introduced the Wärtsilä Modular Block at this week’s Africa Energy Forum, being held at the Lisbon Congress Centre, Portugal.