Wärtsilä Corporation and Commissioning Italia SpA have jointly won a turnkey contract to supply a 24MW cogeneration power plant for Linate airport, Milan in Italy. The plant is to be built for Malpensa Energia Srl, whose shareholders are the Milan airport management company SEA Aeroporti Milano, and the Milan multi-utilities company AEM Milano.

The plant will be equipped with three Wärtsilä 20V34SG gas-fuelled generating sets, together with their ancillary equipment, exhaust heat recovery economisers and two gas-fired boilers. The engines and boilers will burn natural gas. The boiler plant will begin operation in September 2005 and the generating sets in February 2006, with the plant contracted to be handed over in March 2006. The plant will be located inside Linate airport.

Operating on baseload, the plant will be flexible in operation, economically meeting the variations in heat demand in summer and winter for both heating and air conditioning. The heat output of the plant will be a total of 81.7MWth in winter and 74.8MWth in summer, with a year-round electrical power output of 24MWe.

The heat recovery system for the three engines is designed for maximum heat recovery for heating services and the air conditioning of airport buildings. This full climate control system is typically referred to as a trigeneration installation. Trigeneration is generally understood to mean simultaneous conversion of a fuel into three useful energy products: electricity, hot water for heating and chilled water for cooling.

The heat will thus be delivered as superheated water at 125°C and hot water at 70°C to the airport buildings and also a small village close to the airport. The plant will also deliver electricity to the Italian national grid. Normally the generating sets will run in parallel with the grid but they will also serve as emergency sets to maintain airport services in the event of a break in the grid supply.