Today’s modern combustion engines are excellently suited for various stationary power generation applications. They cover a wide capacity range, and have the highest simple cycle efficiency in the industry. At the lower end of the range, the power plant can consist of only one generating set, while larger plants can consist of tens of units and have a total output of several hundred megawatts. The largest power stations delivered to date have electrical outputs in excess of 300 MW. Power plants based on combustion engines can, however, be even bigger, simply by adding more generating sets. Today, even 500 MW plants are competitive in applications where flexibility and high efficiency are needed.

The combustion engines that are commonly used in power plants are typically based on medium-speed engine technology. The simple cycle outputs of these engines typically range from 1 to 23 MW per unit. Medium-speed engines run at between 300 to 1000 rpm, and the engine and the generator run at the same speed so there is there is no need for a gearbox. The engines are designed according to two different operating process principles, giving them somewhat different characteristics and making them suitable to run on either gaseous or liquid fuels.

Modern computer controlled combustion engines have many technological advantages over other technologies used for power generation. The following chapter will highlight the most important advantages.

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  Niklas Wägar

   Director Technology & Solutions
   Wärtsilä Energy Solutions
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