Finnish energy equipment manufacturer Wärtsilä has secured a contract from Brazilian utility Companhia Energética Manauara to convert its existing Manauara power plant in Manaus, to be powered by 100% natural gas.

The contract which was signed last month, also includes increasing the output of the plant from the present 85MW capacity to 92MW. The conversion is expected to reduce the operational costs at the plant, while lessening its environmental impact.

By using natural gas as fuel, the plant’s environmental footprint could be reduced by 10%, which is 35,000 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (MTCDE)/year.

Wärtsilä will replace its existing 46GD engines with 50SG gas fueled engines

The conversion will include replacing the existing five 46GD dual-fuel combustion engines of Wärtsilä to five of its 50SG gas fueled engines, along with the necessary and connected system upgrades.

Companhia Energética Manauara plant director Bruno Menezes said: “Our commitment to environmental sustainability is reflected in this conversion project, and we are proud to be reducing our carbon footprint. Converting the engines to run on gas meets the company’s concerns about generating power with the least possible environmental impact.

“At the same time, we will be reducing our costs and improving our economic performance. The conversion will contribute to reducing electricity costs for all Brazilians, as it will eliminate the consumption of heavy fuel oil (OCA1) and the corresponding refund by the national Fuel Consumption Account (CCC).

“We have trusted Wärtsilä with our operations for many years, so it wasn’t difficult to extend this successful partnership for a further ten years.”

Furthermore, Companhia Energética Manauara and Wärtsilä have renewed the operation and maintenance contract for the power plant for 10 years.

Wärtsilä Energy business development manager Adriano Marcolino said: “This project crowns a long-term and cooperative relationship developed with Manauara over the past 15 years. With this gas conversion project we expect to support the customer’s business extension prospects, while also developing our services for gas engines.”

The plant conversion is expected to be completed fully by the beginning of 2022.

Earlier this year, a consortium of Wärtsilä and Uniper had secured a contract to build a 105MW combined heat and power (CHP) gas engine plant in Germany.

The contract was awarded by Bremen’s public utility swb Erzeugung to build the facility.