Energy and marine equipment manufacturer Wärtsilä will convert the 90 MW Bel-Air heavy fuel oil power plant in Dakar, Senegal, to operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The project is part of an interim LNG-to-power bridge solution, and is the first power plant gas conversion in Senegal, the company said on April 12.
The conversion will future-proof the facility, as Senegal’s long-term strategy is to lower the carbon footprint of energy production by switching to gas when a domestic supply is available, Wärtsilä said in a statement.
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 enables the use of multiple fuels, providing the option to operate on gas with liquid fuels as a back-up.
“Future-proofing the customer’s assets to meet the requirements over the lifecycle through 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,” said Wärtsilä Africa West energy business director Marc Thiriet.
Besides the engine conversion, the project will cover all aspects, from safety to operational reliability, to ensure successful operations on gas, with control functions, mechanical auxiliary systems and electrical and automation systems being changed or upgraded as required.
As part of the engineering, procurement and construction contract, Wärtsilä will manage all phases of the project, which is expected to be completed before the end of this year.
Wärtsilä’s current operation and maintenance agreement covering the existing engines is being renegotiated in view of the conversion.
“Our two main aims were to improve the plant’s environmental profile and lower the operating costs. By taking advantage of Wärtsilä’s deep experience and strong capabilities in power plant gas conversions, we can achieve these goals. Simultaneously, we are preparing the plant for the country’s future gas supply infrastructure,” said Senelec MD Papa Mademba Biteye.
In addition to the Bel-Air plant, Senelec has three other Wärtsilä power plants in operation in Senegal.