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The IPP3, said to be the world’s largest internal combustion engine (ICE) power plant, was recently inaugurated 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. Wärtsilä has been responsible for leading the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) consortium.
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, they have made an impact on the Jordanian power grid. The two engine plants are said to have covered most of the peak demand, and large gas turbine power plants in the grid have been released from this task. As a result, turbines now produce steady baseload, operating more efficiently. This is likely to lead to significant savings in fuel, energy costs and CO2 emissions.
Operation and fuel flexibility
Fast-reacting back-up capacity will be needed to balance variable renewable power, and 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 is said to provide 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 inauguration ceremony was hosted by the plant’s owner AAEPC (Amman Asia Electric Power Company) and was held under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan. IPP3 is likely to cover the sharp daily peaks of electricity demand in Jordan. Fast starting, the capability of ramping output up and down quickly and efficiently are said to be the key features of ICE technology. By starting one engine at a time, the plant is likely to follow the demand precisely.
Upma Koul, Business Development Manager at Wärtsilä said Smart Power Generation power plants can optimise entire power systems by providing the much-needed flexibility. “Using ICEs for peak load and gas turbines for baseload is the perfect combination in improving overall efficiency of the grid.”
The plant is expected to start using LNG-based natural gas later this year, as soon as it becomes available. 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.