"Shale oil and gas production has substantially increased the availability of propane in the market. Many of Wartsila's customers see an opportunity for using propane now for power generation," says Thomas Hagglund, Vice President, Technology and Solutions at Wartsila Energy Solutions.
Hagglund points out that the multi-fuel capability is one of Wartsila's traditional strengths. Now the market-leading Wartsila 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.
Wartsila'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.
Wartsila's installed power plant capacity is 58 GW in 175 countries around the world. Out of this, more than 10 percent, or 6 GW are multi-fuel plants.