Wärtsilä releases 12.4 MW grid-balancing engine


Finland’s Wärtsilä has launched a new grid-balancing engine solution that can be paired with renewables. The 31SG Balancer engine is 8% more powerful than its predecessor, with an electrical power of 12.4 MW and 52.3% efficiency.

“Our latest grid-balancing engine is designed to help utilities transform the energy mix of their power plant portfolios, so that the lowest cost technologies, renewables, provide most of the power, most of the time,” said Risto Paldanius, vice president Americas at Wärtsilä.

The engine is designed to provide unlimited fast starts and shutdowns, in order to support the grid amid variable renewable energy generation. It can connect to the grid in 30 seconds.

“The advantage of pairing our engines with solar PV is that energy can be delivered round the clock, even when the sun isn’t shining,” a Wärtsilä spokesperson told pv magazine. “To do this requires careful planning and integration of assets, to ensure the lowest total emissions and cost of electricity for the customer.”

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The solution includes prefabricated power plant modules. The company claims this reduces site work by 30%, bringing installation times to just a few days. It also includes Wärtsilä lifecycle services for remote monitoring.

The 31SG Balancer is suitable for “most geographical locations, latitudes, and power systems. The engine can be configured to operate in both extreme cold and hot climates, ranging from -40 C to 45 C,” the company said. Its price is “cost competitive with other competing technologies due to low initial investment and optimized operational expenditure.”

The engine can run on natural gas, biogas, or hydrogen blends. It could also be adapted to use sustainable fuels in the future, according to the company.

The Wärtsilä 31SG Balancer

Image: Wärtsilä

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