Helsinki, October 3, 2011 — Wartsila won a contract to supply a power plant to the Republic of Rwanda. The power plant used in this turnkey project will use methane gas from the nearby Lake Kivu as fuel.
The order has been placed by KivuWatt Ltd, a unit of the New York- based international power company ContourGlobal. When operational, the power plant will supply electricity to Rwanda's national utility.
This will be one of the first times ever that power generation is derived from this type of gas, although two smaller power plants already operate using the lake's methane gas for fuel.
However, this is the first time that Lake Kivu's methane gas will be used to fuel a power plant of this size. The plant will be powered by 20-cylinder Wartsila 34SG gas-powered engines and have an electrical output of 25 MW.
Future planned expansions to this project will increase this output by an additional 75 MW. Delivery of the equipment is scheduled for the first quarter of 2012, and the plant is expected to be operational in the third quarter of that same year.
Lake Kivu, located on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, contains high concentrations of naturally occurring methane gas. By tapping this indigenous fuel to generate energy, the need to import energy can be reduced.
Furthermore, since the build-up of the gas is ongoing, it has been predicted in studies that a saturation point will eventually be reached that could lead to a catastrophic gas release. Extraction of the gas has thus the potential to both mitigate the risks of dangerous eruptions and provide substantial energy reserves. The actual extraction of gas from the lake, however, is not included within Wartsila's contractual scope.
This will be Wartsila's second 25 MW power plant to be installed in Rwanda. ContourGlobal also operates a 100 MW multi-fuel Wartsila power plant in Togo.
As at the end of 2010, Wartsila had delivered 4,500 power plants in 168 countries, providing a total of over 47 GW of energy capacity.