The inauguration of IPP3, the world’s largest internal combustion engine (ICE) power plant, takes place today at the plant site near Amman, Jordan. The plant is powered by 38 Wärtsilä 50DF multi-fuel engines with a combined capacity of 573 MW. In recognition of its world record size, the plant has been accepted into the Guinness book of records.
The ceremony will be hosted by the owner of the plant AAEPC (Amman Asia Electric Power Company) and will be held under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan. Wärtsilä has been responsible for leading the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) consortium delivering the largest Smart Power Generation plant in the history of the company.
IPP3 will be used for covering the sharp daily peaks of electricity demand in Jordan. Fast starting and the capability of ramping output up and down quickly and efficiently are key features of ICE technology. “By starting one engine at a time, the plant can follow the demand very precisely,” Kim confirms.
IPP3 and its sister plant, the 250 MW IPP4, have been in commercial operation since late 2014. According to data provided by the Jordanian grid operator NEPCO, their impact on the Jordanian power grid has been remarkable. Since the two engine plants have covered most of the peak demand, large gas turbine power plants in the grid have been released from this task. As a result, turbines now produce steady baseload, operating much more efficiently. This leads to significant savings in fuel, energy costs and CO2 emissions.
“This empirical evidence shows how our Smart Power Generation power plants can optimise entire power systems by providing much-needed flexibility. Using ICEs for peak load and gas turbines for baseload is the perfect combination in improving overall efficiency of the grid,” says Upma Koul, Business Development Manager at Wärtsilä.
Fast-reacting back-up capacity will also be needed to balance variable renewable power. 600 MW of solar and 1200 MW of wind energy are expected to be installed in Jordan by 2020.
In addition to operational flexibility, IPP3 provides fuel flexibility. The tri-fuel plant can run on heavy fuel oil (HFO), light fuel oil (LFO) and natural gas. Currently HFO is used due to shortage of natural gas. The plant will start to use LNG-based natural gas later this year, as soon as it becomes available.“The readiness to use different fuels was essential for us, and Wärtsilä’s engines are the optimal technology for this,” Kim says.
Wärtsilä sees strong growth in the Middle East and has attracted new orders recently from Oman and Saudi Arabia. Wärtsilä’s total installed capacity in the Middle East is approximately 7000 MW.