By Oke Peter
The technology group Wärtsilä’s strong relationship with one of Egypt’s major independent power producers (IPPs) is further enhanced with a new order. Under a contract placed in February 2022 by Kahraba, a subsidiary of Egypt Kuwait Holding (EKH), Wärtsilä will deliver new generating equipment to add approximately 20 MW of output to the existing Borg El Arab power plant located some 45 kilometres southwest of Alexandria, Egypt. Additionally, Wärtsilä will upgrade the existing 40 MW plant with the latest generation control system. The contract was booked in Wärtsilä’s order intake in Q1, 2022.
The Borg El Arab plant currently operates with four Wärtsilä 34SG engines running on natural gas, the cleanest of all widely available fuels. As a result of increased industrial demand for electricity in the region, additional generating capacity is needed, and because of the reliability of the existing operation, an additional two Wärtsilä 34SG engines was deemed to be the optimal solution.
“Industrial growth is vital to the region’s economic development, and a reliable power supply is essential for driving this growth. We have been extremely satisfied with the efficiency and reliability of the Wärtsilä engines and the approach of Wärtsilä’s personnel in serving our needs to optimise our operations. This is why we had no hesitation in selecting Wärtsilä again for this plant expansion project,” said Magdi El Badry, Chairman & Managing Director of Kahraba.
“We have worked very closely with Kahraba in the past and are delighted to be working with them again on this important project. By operating the engines on locally available natural gas, the plant’s environmental footprint is lessened. Furthermore, the flexibility of the Wärtsilä engines will enable the system to incorporate increasing levels of energy from renewable sources,” commented Marc Thiriet, Director, Wärtsilä Energy, Africa West.
Egypt, which has one of the largest electricity grids on the African continent, is making increasing use of renewable energy. The government has set targets for renewables to comprise 42% of the country’s electricity mix by 2035, based on rapid solar and wind energy deployment. The fast-starting and stopping capabilities of Wärtsilä’s gas engines provide the grid balancing needed to compensate for the intermittency of renewables.
Wärtsilä engines are ready to also operate on sustainable fuels in the future, once they become widely available, which makes them a future-proof solution. Already today Wärtsilä engines can use synthetic and carbon-neutral methane and methanol, and hydrogen-blends. Sustainable fuels together with engines can take care of long-term energy storage needs for periods with persistently low wind or solar conditions.
Kahraba is one of Egypt’s most prominent IPP companies and the country’s only authorised private buyer and seller of gas. Wärtsilä has earlier delivered a number of power generating projects for Kahraba and other subsidiaries of EKH. The extended Borg El Arab plant is expected to become fully operational in 2023.