Wärtsilä, a leading supplier of flexible power plants and services to the global power generation market, has been awarded the contract to supply engines, generators and associated auxiliary equipment to a power plant serving an iron ore mine in Western Australia.

The six 20-cylinder Wärtsilä 34DF engines selected for this project offer 50MW of dual-fuel capability, giving the customer the option to use either natural gas or light fuel oil. These will be the first Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines to be installed in Australia.

The contract was signed in July with Fortescue Metals Group, one of the world’s leading producers of iron ore. The power plant is needed to supply electricity for its Solomon Hub mine, which is part of the company’s expansion in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The Fortescue Solomon Phase I project is scheduled to be in commercial operation by the third quarter, 2012.

Together with the six Wärtsilä engines, the power plant utilizes two gas turbines, primarily operating in constant power mode. The engines have the capability to handle the necessary fast stops and starts and the variations in load, while at all times maintaining extremely high efficiency levels.

“The ability to maintain high efficiency, even at partial loads, is very important in plants such as this that serve industrial operations. The high simple cycle efficiency also helps reduce the environmental impact of the power plant, while the multi-unit configuration of the engines ensures high availability and reliability. Furthermore, frequent stops and starts do not increase the maintenance costs of the engines,” says Suraj Narayan, business development manager, Wärtsilä Power Plants.

“In order to develop rapidly the Solomon Hub mine and enable secure, low-cost production of iron ore for years to come, we require a highly reliable power plant capable of operating at high efficiency at varying loads,” said Mr Peter Meurs, director of development at Fortescue.

Wärtsilä Australia has been headquartered in Sydney since 1989. It employs close to 90 employees including 40 mechanics, service engineers, spare part co-ordinators, and a services sales team. Wärtsilä also has workshops in Sydney and Perth.

Wärtsilä Australia is responsible for supporting 450MW of mining power and 397MW of utility power projects within its region.

By the end of 2010, Wärtsilä had delivered 4,500 power plants in 168 countries, providing a total of over 47GW of energy capacity.

For more information please contact Wärtsilä.